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Copyright, 1921, by Eugene O Neill 

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this play is dedicated to the reading public only. All in 
quiries regarding this play should be addressed to Richard J. 
Madden Play Company, at 1501 Broadway, New York, N. Y. 

The non-professional acting rights of Beyond the Horizon are 
controlled exclusively by the Dramatists Play Service, Inc., 
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Manufactured in the United States of America 

/v/5 Q 




JAMES MAYO, a farmer 

KATE MAYO, fci* wz /e 

CAPTAIN DICK SCOTT, of Jfce fcar/c Sunda, /ter brother 


_. ,, ^^ow* of JAMES MAYO 



MRS. ATKINS, her widowed mother 


BEN, a farm hand 



SCENE I: The Road. Sunset of a day in Spring. 
SCENE II: The Farm House The same night. 


(Three years later) 

SCENE I: The Farm House. Noon of a Summer day. 
SCENE II: The top of a hill on the farm overlooking the sea. 
The following day. 


(Five years later) 

SCENE I: The Farm House. Dawn of a day in late Fall. 
SCENE II: The Road. Sunrise. 





A section of country highway. The road runs diagonally 
from the left, forward, to the right, rear, and can be seen in 
the distance winding toward the horizon like a pale ribbon 
between the low, rolling hills with their freshly plowed fields 
clearly divided from each other, checkerboard fashion, by the 
lines of stone walls and rough snake fences. 

The forward triangle cut off by the road is a section of a 
field from the dark earth of which myriad bright-green blades 
of fall-sown rye are sprouting. A straggling line of piled 
rocks, too low to be called a wall, separates this field from 
the road. 

To the reai of the road is a ditch with a sloping, grassy 
bank on the far side. From the center of this an old, gnarled 
apple tree, just budding into leaf, strains its twisted branches 
heavenwards, black against thi, pallor of distance. A snake- 
fence sidles from left to right along the top of the bank, pass 
ing beneath the apple tree. 

The hushed twilight of a day in May is just beginning. The 
horizon hills are still rimmed by a faint line of flame, and the 
sky above them glows with the crimson flush of the sunset. 
This fades gradually as the action of the scene progresses. 

At the rise of the curtain, ROBERT MAYO is discovered sitting 



on the fence. He is a tall, slender young man of twenty-three. 
There is a touch of the poet about him expressed in his high 
forehead and wide, dark eyes. His features are delicate and 
refined, leaning to "weakness in the mouth and chin. He is 
dressed in gray corduroy trousers pushed into high laced boots, 
and a blue flannel shirt with a bright colored tie. He is read 
ing a book by the fading sunset light. He shuts this, keeping 
a finger in to mark the place, and turns his head toward the 
horizon, gazing out over the fields and hills. His lips move as 
if he were reciting something to himself. 

His brother ANDREW comes along the road from the right, 
returning from his work in the fields. He is twenty-seven years 
old, an opposite type to ROBERT husky, sun-bronzed, hand 
some in a large-featured, manly fashion a son of the soil, 
intelligent in a shrewd way, but with nothing of the intellectual 
about him. He wears overalls, leather boots, a gray flannel 
shirt open at the neck, and a soft, mud-stained hat pushed back 
on his head. He stops to talk to ROBERT, leaning on the hoe 
he carries. 

ANDREW, (seeing ROBERT has not noticed his presence in 
a loud shout) Hey there ! (ROBERT turns with a start. Seeing 
who it is, he smiles) Gosh, you do take the prize for day 
dreaming! And I see you ve toted one of the old books along 
with you. (He crosses the ditch and sits on the fence near 
his brother) What is it this time poetry, I ll bet. (He 
reaches for the book) Let me see. 

ROBERT, (handing it to him rather reluctantly) Look out 
you don t get it full of dirt. 

ANDREW, (glancing at his hands) That isn t dirt it s 


good clean earth. {He turns over the pages. His eyes read 
something and he gives an exclamation of disgust) Hump ! 
{With a provoking grin at his brother he reads aloud in a dole 
ful, sing-song voice) "I have loved wind and light and the 
bright sea. But holy and most sacred night, not as I love 
and have loved thee." (He hands the book back) Here ! Take 
it and bury it. I suppose it s that year in college gave you 
a liking for that kind of stuff. I m darn glad I stopped at 
High School, or maybe I d been crazy too. (He grins and 
slaps ROBERT on the back affectionately) Imagine me reading 
poetry and plowing at the same time ! The team d run away, 
I ll bet. 

ROBERT, (laughing) Or picture me plowing. 

ANDREW. You should have gone back to college last fall, like 
I know you wanted to. You re fitted for that sort of thing 
just as I ain t. 

ROBERT. You know why I didn t go back, Andy. Pa didn t 
like the idea, even if he didn t say so; and I know he wanted 
the money to use improving the farm. And besides, I m not 
keen on being a student, just because you see me reading books 
all the time. What I want to do now is keep on moving so 
that I won t take root in any one place. 

ANDREW. Well, the trip you re leaving on tomorrow will 
keep you moving all right. (At this mention of the trip they 
both fall silent. There is a pause. Finally ANDREW goes on, 
awkwardly, attempting to speak casually) Uncle says you ll 
be gone three years. 

ROBERT. About that, he figures. 

ANDREW, (moodily) That s a long time. 

ROBERT. Not so long when you come to consider it. You 


know the Sunda sails around the Horn for Yokohama first, 
and that s a long voyage on a sailing ship; and if we go to 
any of the other places Uncle Dick mentions India, or Aus 
tralia, or South Africa, or South America they ll be long 
voyages, too. 

ANDREW. You can have all those foreign parts for all of 
me. (After a pause) Ma s going to miss you a lot, Rob. 

ROBERT. Yes and I ll miss her. 

ANDREW. And Pa ain t feeling none too happy to have you 
go though he s been trying not to show it. 

ROBERT. I can see how he feels. 

ANDREW. And you can bet that I m not giving any cheers 
about it. (He puts one hand on the fence near ROBERT). 

ROBERT, (putting one hand on top of ANDREW S with a 
gesture almost of shyness) I know that, too, Andy. 

ANDREW. I ll miss you as much as anybody, I guess. You 
see, you and I ain t like most brothers always fighting and 
separated a lot of the time, while we ve always been together 
just the two of us. It s different with us. That s why 
it hits so hard, I guess. 

ROBERT, (with feeling) It s just as hard for me, Andy 
believe that! I hate to leave you and the old folks but 

I feel I ve got to. There s something calling me (He 

points to the horizon) Oh, I can t just explain it to you, Andy. 

ANDREW. No need to, Rob. (Angry at himself) Hell! 
You want to go that s all there is to it; and I wouldn t 
have you miss this chance for the world. 

ROBERT. It s fine of you to feel that way, Andy. 
ANDREW. Huh! I d be a nice son-of-a-gun if I didn t, 
wouldn t I? When I know how you need this sea trip to 


make a new man of you in the body, I mean and give you 
your full health back. 

ROBERT, (a trifle impatiently) All of you seem to keep 
harping on my health. You were so used to seeing me lying 
around the house in the old days that you never will get over 
the notion that I m a chronic invalid. You don t realize how 
I ve bucked up in the past few years. If I had no other 
excuse for going on Uncle Dick s ship but just my health, I d 
stay right here and start in plowing. 

ANDREW. Can t be done. Farming ain t your nature. There s 
all the difference shown in just the way us two feel about the 
farm. You well, you like the home part of it, I expect; 
but as a place to work and grow things, you hate it. Ain t 
that right? 

ROBERT. Yes, I suppose it is. For you it s different. You re 
a Mayo through and through. You re wedded to the soil, 
You re as much a product of it as an ear of corn is, or a tree. 
Father is the same. This farm is his life-work, and he s happy 
in knowing that another Mayo, inspired by the same love, will 
take up the work where he leaves off. I can understand your 
attitude, and Pa s; and I think it s wonderful and sincere. 
But I well, I m not made that way. 

ANDREW. No, you ain t ; but when it comes to understand 
ing, I guess I realize that you ve got your own angle of look 
ing at things. 

ROBERT, {musingly) I wonder if you do, really. 

ANDREW, {confidently) Sure I do. You ve seen a bit of 
the world, enough to make the farm seem small, and you ve 
got the itch to see it all. 

ROBERT. It s more than that, Andy. 


ANDREW. Oh, of course. I know you re going to learn navi 
gation, and all about a ship, so s you can be an officer. That s 
natural, too. There s fair pay in it, I expect, when you con 
sider that you ve always got a home and grub thrown in; and 
if you re set on traveling, you can go anywhere you re a mind 
to without paying fare. 

ROBERT. (with a smile that is half sad) It s more than 
that, Andy. 

ANDREW. Sure it is. There s always a chance of a good thing 
coming your way in some of those foreign ports or other. I ve 
heard there are great opportunities for a young fellow with 
his eyes open in some of those new countries that are just 
being opened up. (Jovially) I ll bet that s what you ve been 
turning over in your mind under all your quietness ! (He slaps 
his brother on the back with a laugh) Well, if you get to be 
a millionaire all of a sudden, call round once in a while and 
I ll pass the plate to you. We could use a lot of money right 
here on the farm without hurting it any. 

ROBERT, (forced to laugh) I ve never considered that prac 
tical side of it for a minute, Andy. 

ANDREW. Well, you ought to. 

ROBERT. No, I oughtn t. (Pointing to the horizon dreamily) 
Supposing I was to tell you that it s just Beauty that s call 
ing me, the beauty of the far off and unknown, the mystery 
and spell of the East which lures me in the books I ve read, the 
need of the freedom of great wide spaces, the joy of wan 
dering on and on in quest of the secret which is hidden over 
there, beyond the horizon? Suppose I told you that was the 
one and only reason for my going? 

ANDREW. I should say you were nutty. 


ROBERT, (frowning) Don t, Andy. I m serious. 

ANDREW. Then you might as well stay here, because we ve 
got all you re looking for right on this farm. There s wide 
space enough, Lord knows; and you can have all the sea you 
want by walking a mile down to the beach; and there s plenty 
of horizon to look at, and beauty enough for anyone, except 
in the winter. (He grins) As for the mystery and spell, 
I haven t met em yet, but they re probably lying around some- 
wheres. I ll have you understand this is a first class farm 
with all the fixings. (He laughs). 

ROBERT, (joining in the laughter in spite of himself) It s 
no use talking to you, you chump ! 

ANDREW. You d better not say anything to Uncle Dick 
about spells and things when you re on the ship. He ll likely 
chuck you overboard for a Jonah. (He jumps down from fence) 
I d better run along. I ve got to wash up some as long as 
Ruth s Ma is coming over for supper. 

ROBERT, (pointedly almost bitterly) And Ruth. 

ANDREW, (confused looking everywhere except at ROBERT 
trying to appear unconcerned) Yes, Ruth ll be staying too. 

Well, I better hustle, I guess, and (He steps over the 

ditch to the road while he is talking). 

ROBERT, (who appears to be fighting some strong inward 
emotion impulsively) Wait a minute, Andy! (He jumps 

down from the fence) There is something I want to (He 

stops abruptly, biting his lips, his face coloring). 

ANDREW, (facing him; half-defiantly) Yes? 

ROBERT, (confusedly) No never mind it doesn t 

matter, it was nothing. 

ANDREW, (after a pause, during which he stares fixedly at 


ROBERT S averted face) Maybe I can guess what you were 

going to say but I guess you re right not to talk about 

it. (He pulls ROBERT S hand from his side and grips it tensely; 
the two brothers stand looking into each other s eyes for a 
minute) We can t help those things, Rob. (1 e turns away, 
suddenly releasing ROBERT S hand) You ll be coming along 
shortly, won t you ? 

ROBERT, (dully) Yes. 

ANDREW. See you later, then. (He walks off down the 
road to the left. ROBERT stares after him for a moment; then 
climbs to the fence rail again, and looks out over the hills, an 
expression of deep grief on his face. After a moment or so, 
RUTH enters hurriedly from the left. She is a healthy, blonde, 
out-of-door girl of twenty, with a graceful, slender fgure. Her 
face, though inclined to roundness, is undeniably pretty, its 
large eyes of a deep blue set off strikingly by the sun-bronzed 
complexion. Her small, regular features are marked by a 
certain strength an underlying, stubborn fixity of purpose hid 
den In the frankly-appealing charm of her fresh youth fulness. 
She wears a simple ^hlt^dress but no hat). 

RUTH, (seeing him) Hello, Rob! 

ROBERT, (startled) Hello, Ruth ! 

RUTH, (jumps the ditch and perches on the fence beside 
him) I was looking for you. 

ROBERT, (pointedly) Andy just left here. 

RUTH. I know. I met him on the road a second ago. He 
told me you were here. (Tenderly playful) I wasn t look 
ing for Andy, Smarty, if that s what you mean. I was looking 
for you. 

ROBERT. Because I m going away tomorrow? 


RUTH. Because your mother was anxious to have you come 
home and asked me to look for you. I just wheeled Ma over 
to your house. 

ROBERT, (perfunctorily) How is your mother? 

RUTH, (a shadow coming over her face) She s about the 
same. She never seems to get any better or any worse. Oh, 
Rob, I do wish she d try to make the best of things that can t 
be helped. 

ROBERT. Has she been nagging at you again? 

RUTH, (nods her head f and then breaks forth rebelliously) 
She never stops nagging. No matter what I do for her she 

finds fault. If only Pa was still living (She stops as if 

ashamed of her outburst) I suppose I shouldn t complain 
this way. (She sighs) Poor Ma, Lord knows it s hard enough 
for her. I suppose it s natural to be cross when you re not 
able ever to walk a step. Oh, I d like to be going away some 
place like you ! 

ROBERT. It s hard to stay and equally hard to go, some 

RUTH. There! If I m not the stupid body! I swore I 
wasn t going to speak about your trip until after you d gone; 
and there I go, first thing! 

ROBERT. Why didn t you want to speak of it? 

RUTH. Because I didn t want to spoil this last night you re 
here. Oh, Rob, I m going to we re all going to miss you so 
awfully. Your mother is going around looking as if she d burst 
out crying any minute. You ought to know how I feel. Andy 
and you and I why it seems as if we d always been together. 

ROBERT, (with a wry attempt at a smile) You and Andy 


will still have each other. It ll be harder for me without 

RUTH. But you ll have new sights and new people to take 
your mind off; while we ll be here with the old, familiar place 
to remind us every minute of the day. It s a shame you re 
going just at this time, in spring, when everything is get 
ting so nice. (With a sigh) I oughtn t to talk that way when 
I know going s the best thing for you. You re bound to find 
all sorts of opportunities to get on, your father says. 

ROBERT, (heatedly) I don t give a damn about that! I 
wouldn t take a voyage across the road for the best opportu 
nity in the world of the kind Pa thinks of. (Pie smiles at his 
own irritation) Excuse me, Ruth, for getting worked up over 
it; but Andy gave me an overdose of the practical considera 

RUTH, (slowly, puzzled) Well, then, if it isn t (With 

sudden intensity) Oh, Rob, why do you want to go? 

ROBERT, (turning to her quickly, in surprise slowly) Why 
do you ask that, Ruth? 

RUTH, (dropping her eyes before his searching glance) Be 
cause (Lamely) It seems such a shame. 

ROBERT, (insistently) Why? 

RUTH. Oh, because everything. 

ROBERT. I could hardly back out now, even if I wanted to. 
And I ll be forgotten before you know it. 

RUTH, (indignantly) You won t ! I ll never forget 

(She stops and turns away to hide her confusion). 

ROBERT, (softly) Will you promise me that? 

RUTH, (evasively) Of course. It s mean of you to think 
that any of us would forget so easily. 


ROBERT, (disappointedly} Oh! 

RUTH, (with an attempt at lightness) But you haven t told 
me your reason for leaving yet? 

ROBERT, (moodily) I doubt if you ll understand. It s dif 
ficult to explain, even to myself. Either you feel it, or you 
don t. I can remember being conscious of it first when I was 
only a kid you haven t forgotten what a sickly specimen I 
was then, in those days, have you? 

RUTH, (with a shudder) Let s not think about them. 

ROBERT. You ll have to, to understand. Well, in those days, 
when Ma was fixing meals, she used to get me out of the way 
by pushing my chair to the west window and telling me to look 
out and be quiet. That wasn t hard. I guess I was always 

RUTH, (compassionately) Yes, you always were and you 
suffering so much, too ! 

ROBERT, (musingly) So I used to stare out over the fields 
to the hills, out there (He points to the horizon) and some 
how after a time I d forget any pain I was in, and start 
dreaming. I knew the sea was over beyond those hills, the 
folks had told me and I used to wonder what the sea was 
like, and try to form a picture of it in my mind. (With a 
smile) There was all the mystery in the world to me then 
about that far-off sea and there still is ! It called to me 
then just as it does now. (After a slight pause) And other 
times my eyes would follow this road, winding off into the 
distance, toward the hills, as if it, too, was searching for the 
sea. And I d promise myself that when I grew up and was 
strong, I d follow that road, and it and I would find the sea 


together. (With a smile) You see, my making this trip is 
only keeping that promise of long ago. 

RUTH (charmed by his low, musical voice telling the dreams 
of his childhood) Yes, I see. 

ROBERT. Those were the only happy moments of my life 
then, dreaming there at the window. I liked to be all alone 
those times. I got to know all the different kinds of sun 
sets by heart. And all those sunsets took place over there 
(He points) beyond the horizon. So gradually I came to be 
lieve that all the wonders of the world happened on the other 
side of those hills. There was the home of the good fairies 
who performed beautiful miracles. I believed in fairies then. 
(With a smile) Perhaps I still do believe in them. Anyway, 
in those days they were real enough, and sometimes I could 
actually hear them calling to me to come out and play with 
them, dance with them down the road in the dusk in a game 
of hide-and-seek to find out where the sun was hiding himself. 
They sang their little songs to me, songs that told of all the 
wonderful things they had in their home on the other side of 
the hills; and they promised to show me all of them, if I d 
only come, come ! But I couldn t come then, and I used to 
cry sometimes and Ma would think I was in pain. (He breaks 
off suddenly with a laugh) That s why I m going now, I 
suppose. For I can still hear them calling. But the horizon 
is as far away and as luring as ever. (He turns to her 
softly) Do you understand now, Ruth? 

RUTH, (spellbound, in a whisper) Yes. 

ROBERT. You feel it then? 

RUTH. Yes, yes, I do! (Unconsciously she snuggles close 
against his side. His arm steals about her as if he were not 


aware of the action} Oh, Rob, how could I help feeling it? 
You tell things so beautifully! 

ROBERT, {suddenly realizing that his arm is around her, 
and that her head is resting on his shoulder, gently takes his 
arm away. RUTH, brought back to herself, is overcome with 
confusion} So now you know why I m going. It s for that 
reason that and one other. 

RUTH. You ve another? Then you must tell me that, too. 

ROBERT, (looking at her searchingly. She drops her eyes 
before his gaze} I wonder if I ought to ! You ll promise not 
to be angry whatever it is? 

RUTH, {softly, her face still averted} Yes, I promise. 

ROBERT, {simply} I love you. That s the other reason. 

RUTH, (hiding her face in her hands} Oh, Rob! 

ROBERT. I wasn t going to tell you, but I feel I have to. It 
can t matter now that I m going so far away, and for so 
long perhaps forever. I ve loved you all these years, but 
the realization never came til I agreed to go away with Uncle 
Dick. Then I thought of leaving you, and the pain of that 
thought revealed to me in a flash that I loved you, had loved 
you as long as I could remember. {He gently pulls one of 
RUTH S hands away from her face} You mustn t mind my 
telling you this, Ruth. I realize how impossible it all is 
and I understand; for the revelation of my own love seemed 
to open my eyes to the love of others. I saw Andy s love for 
you and I knew that you must love him. 

RUTH, {breaking out stormily} I don t ! I don t love Andy ! 
I don t! (ROBERT stares at her in stupid astonishment. RUTH 
weeps hysterically} Whatever put such a fool notion into 
into your head? (She suddenly throws her arms about his neck 


and hides her head on his shoulder} Oh, Rob ! Don t go 
away! Please! You mustn t, now! You can t! I won t let 
you! It d break my my heart ! 

ROBERT. (The expression of stupid bewilderment giving way 
to one of overwhelming joy. He presses her close to him 
slowly and tenderly} Do you mean that that you love me? 

RUTH, (sobbing} Yes, yes of course I do what d you 
s pose? (She lifts up her head and looks into his eyes with 
a tremulous smile} You stupid thing! (He kisses her} I ve 
loved you right along. 

ROBERT, (mystified} But you and Andy were always to 
gether ! 

RUTH. Because you never seemed to want to go any place 
with me. You were always reading an old book, and not pay 
ing any attention to me. I was too proud to let you see I 
cared because I thought the year you had away to college 
had made you stuck-up, and you thought yourself too educated 
to waste any time on me. 

ROBERT, (kissing her} And I was thinking (With a 

laugh} What fools we ve both been! 

RUTH, (overcome by a sudden fear} You won t go away 
on the trip, will you, Rob? You ll tell them you can t go on 
account of me, won t you? You can t go now! You can t! 

ROBERT, (bewildered} Perhaps you can come too. 

RUTH. Oh, Rob, don t be so foolish. You know I can t. 
Who d take care of ma? Don t you see I couldn t go on her 
account? (She clings to him imploringly} Please don t go 
not now. Tell them you ve decided not to. They won t mind. 
I know your mother and father 11 be glad. They ll all be. They 
don t want you to go so far away from them. Please, Rob! 


We ll be so happy here together where it s natural and we know 
things. Please tell me you won t go! 

ROBERT, {face tr face with a definite, final decision, betrays 
the conflict going on within him) But Ruth I Uncle 

RUTH. He won t mind when he knows it s for your happiness 
to stay. How could he? (As ROBERT remains silent she bursts 
into sobs again) Oh, Rob! And you said you loved me! 

ROBERT, (conquered by this appeal an irrevocable decision 
in his voice) I won t go, Ruth. I promise you. There ! Don t 
cry ! (He presses her to him, stroking her hair tenderly. After 
a pause he speaks with happy hopefulness) Perhaps after all 
Andy was right righter than he knew when he said I could 
find all the things I was seeking for here, at home on the farm. 
I think love must have been the secret the secret that called 
to me from over the world s rim the secret beyond every 
horizon; and when I did not come, it came to me. (He clasps 
RUTH to him fiercely) Oh, Ruth, our love is sweeter than any 
distant dream! (He kisses her passionately and steps to the 
ground, lifting RUTH in his arms and carrying her to the road 
where he puts her down). 

RUTH, (with a happy laugh) My, but you re strong!-*" 

ROBERT. Come ! We ll go and tell them at once. 

RUTH, (dismayed) Oh, no, don t, Rob, not til after I ve 
gone. There d be bound to be such a scene with them all 

ROBERT, (kissing her gayly) As you like little Miss Com 
mon Sense ! 

RUTH. Let s go, then. (She takts his hand, and they start 


to go off left. ROBERT suddenly stops and turns as though for 
a last look at the hills and the dying sunset flush). 

ROBERT, (looking upward and pointing) See! The first 
star. (He bends down and kisses her tenderly) Our star! 

RUTH, (in a soft murmur) Yes. Our very own star. (They 
stand for a moment looking up at it, their arms around each 
other. Then RUTH takes his hand again and starts to lead him 
away) Come, Rob, let s go. (His eyes are fixed again on the 
horizon as he half turns to follow her. RUTH urges) We ll be 
late for supper, Rob. 

ROBERT, (shakes his head impatiently , as though he were 
throwing off some disturbing thought with a laugh) All right. 
We ll run then. Come on! (They run off laughing as 

(The Curtain Falls) 



The sitting room of the Mayo farm house about nine 
o clock the same night. On the left, two windows looking out 
on the fields. Against the wall between the windows, an old- 
fashioned walnut desk. In the left corner, rear, a sideboard 
with a mirror. In the rear wall to the right of the sideboard^ 
a window looking out on the road. Next to the window a door 
leading out into the yard. Farther right, a black horse-hair 
sofa, and another door opening on a bedroom. In the corner, 
a straight-backed chair. In the right wall, near the middle, an 
open doorway leading to the kitchen. Farther forward a double- 
heater stove with coal scuttle, etc. In the center of the newly 
carpeted floor, an oak dining-room table with a red cover. In 
the center of the table, a large oil reading lamp. Four chairs, 
three rockers with crocheted tidies on their backs, and one 
straight-backed, are placed about the table. The walls are 
papered a dark red with a scrolly-figured pattern. 

Everything in the room is clean, well-kept, and in its exact 
place, yet there is no suggestion of primness about the whole. 
Rather the atmosphere is one of the orderly comfort of a simple, 
hard-earned prosperity, enjoyed and maintained by the family 
as a unit. 

JAMES MAYO, his wife, her brother, CAPTAIN DICK SCOTT, and 
ANDREW are discovered. MAYO is his son ANDREW over again 

in body and face an ANDREW sixty-five years old with a short t 



square, white beard. MRS. MAYO is a slight, round-faced, rather 
prim-looking woman of fifty-fve who had once been a school 
teacher. The labors of a farmer s wife have bent but not broken 
her, and she retains a certain refinement of movement and ex 
pression foreign to the MAYO part of the family. Whatever of 
resemblance ROBERT has to his parents may be traced to her. 
Her brother, the CAPTAIN, is short and stocky, with a weather- 
beaten, jovial face and a white mustache a typical old salt, 
loud of voice and given to gesture. He is fifty-eight years old. 

JAMES MAYO sits in front of the table. He wears spectacles, 
and a farm journal which he has been reading lies in his lap. 
THE CAPTAIN leans forward from a chair in the rear, his hands 
on the table in front of him. ANDREW is tilted back on the 
straight-backed chair to the left, his chin sunk forward on his 
chest, staring at the carpet, preoccupied and frowning. 

As the Curtain rises the CAPTAIN is just finishing the relation 
of some sea episode. The others are pretending an interest 
which is belied by the absent-minded expressions on their faces. 

THE CAPTAIN, (chuckling) And that mission woman, she 
hails me on the dock as I was acomin ashore, and she says 
with her silly face all screwed up serious as judgment "Cap 
tain," she says, "would you be so kind as to tell me where the 
sea-gulls sleeps at nights?" Blow me if them warn t her exact 
words ! (He slaps the table with the palm of his hands and 
laughs loudly. The others force smiles} Ain t that just like a 
fool woman s question? And I looks at her serious as I could, 
"Ma m," says I, "I couldn t rightly answer that question. I ain t 
never seed a sea-gull in his bunk yet. The next time I hears one 
snorin ," I says, "I ll make a note of where he s turned in, and 


write you a letter bout it." And then she calls me a fool real 
spiteful and tacks away from me quick, (tie laughs again up 
roariously} So I got rid of her that way. (The others smile 
but immediately relapse into expressions of gloom again}. 

MRS. MAYO. (absent-mindedly feeling that she has to say 
something) But when it comes to that, where do sea-gulls sleep, 

SCOTT, (slapping the table) Ho! Ho! Listen to her, James. 
Nother one! Well, if that don t beat all hell scuse me for 
cussin , Kate. 

MAYO, (with a twinkle in his eyes) They unhitch their 
wings, Katey, and spreads em out on a wave for a bed. 

SCOTT. And then they tells the fish to whistle to em when 
it s time to turn out. Ho ! Ho ! 

MRS. MAYO, (with a forced smile) You men folks are too 
smart to live, aren t you? (She resumes her knitting. MAYO 
pretends to read his paper; ANDREW stares at the floor). 

SCOTT. (looks from one to the other of them with a puzzled 
air. Finally he is unable to bear the thick silence a minute 
longer, and blurts out) : You folks look as if you was settin 
up with a corpse. (With exaggerated concern) God A mighty, 
there ain t anyone dead, be there? 

MAYO, (sharply) Don t play the dunce, Dick! You know 
as well as we do there ain t no great cause to be feelin chipper. 

SCOTT, (argumentatively) And there ain t no cause to be 
wearin mourning, either, I can make out. 

MRS. MAYO, (indignantly) How can you talk that way, 
Dick Scott, when you re taking our Robbie away from us, in 
tfie middle of the night, you might say, just to get on that old 


boat of yours on time! I think you might wait until morning 
when he s had his breakfast. 

SCOTT, (appealing to the others hopelessly) Ain t that a 
woman s way o seein things for you? God A mighty, Kate, 
I can t give orders to the tide that it s got to be high just when 
it suits me to have it. I ain t gettin no fun out o missin sleep 
and leavin here at six bells myself. (Protestingly) And the 
Sunda ain t an old ship leastways, not very old and she s 
good s she ever was. 

MRS. MAYO, (her lips trembling) I wish Robbie weren t 

MAYO, (looking at her over his glasses consolingly) There, 
Katey ! 

MRS. MAYO, (rebelliously) Well, I do wish he wasn t! 

SCOTT. You shouldn t be taking it so hard, s far as I kin 
see. This vige ll make a man of him. I ll see to it he learns 
how to navigate, n study for a mate s c tificate right off and 
it ll give him a trade for the rest of his life, if he wants to travel. 

MRS. MAYO. But I don t want him to travel all his life. 
You ve got to see he comes home when this trip is over. Then 
he ll be all well, and he ll want to to marry (ANDREW sits 
forward in his chair with an abrupt movement) and settle down 
right here. (She stares down at the knitting in her lap after 
a pause) I never realized how hard it was going to be for me 
to have Robbie go or I wouldn t have considered it a minute. 

SCOTT. It ain t no good goin on that way, Kate, now it s 
all settled. 

MRS. MAYO, (on the verge of tears) It s all right for you 
to talk. You ve never had any children. You don t know 


what it means to be parted from them and Robbie my youngest, 
too. (ANDREW frowns and fidgets in his chair). 

ANDREW, (suddenly turning to them) There s one thing 
none of you seem to take into consideration that Rob wants 
to go. He s dead set on it. He s been dreaming over this trip 
ever since it was first talked about. It wouldn t be fair to him 
not to have him go. (A sudden uneasiness seems to strike him) 
At least, not if he still feels the same way about it he did 
when he was talking to me this evening. 

MAYO, (with an air of decision) Andy s right, Katey. That 
ends all argyment, you can see that. (Looking at his big silver 
watch) Wonder what s happened to Robert? He s been gone 
long enough to wheel the widder to home, certain. He can t 
be out dreamin at the stars his last night. 

MRS. MAYO, (a bit reproachfully) Why didn t you wheel 
Mrs. Atkins back tonight, Andy ? You usually do when she and 
Ruth come over. 

ANDREW, (avoiding her eyes) I thought maybe Robert 
wanted to tonight. He offered to go right away when they 
were leaving. 

MRS. MAYO. He only wanted to be polite. 

ANDREW, (gets to his feet) Well, he ll be right back, 1 
guess. (He turns to his father) Gue^s I ll go take a look 
at the black cow, Pa see if she s ailing any. 

MAYO. Yes better had, son. (ANDREW goes into the kitchen 
on the right). 

SCOTT, (as he goes out in a low tone) There s the boy 
that would make a good, strong sea-farin man if he d a mind to. 

MAYO, (sharply) Don t you put no such fool notions in 
Andy s head, Dick or you n me s goin to fall out. (Then he 


smiles ) You couldn t tempt him, no ways. Andy s a Mayo 
bred in the bone, and he s a born farmer, and a damn good one, 
too. He ll live and die right here on this farm, like I expect to. 
(With proud confidence) And he ll make this one of the slick 
est, best-payin farms in the state, too, afore he gits through! 

SCOTT. Seems to me it s a pretty slick place right now. 

MAYO, (shaking his head) It s too small. We need more 
land to make it amount to much, and we ain t got the capital 
to buy it. (ANDREW enters from the kitchen. His hat is on, 
and he carries a lighted lantern in his hand. He goes to the 
door in the rear leading out). 

ANDREW, (opens the door and pauses) Anything else you 
can think of to be done, Pa ? 

MAYO. No, nothin I know of. (ANDREW goes out, shutting 
the door}. 

MRS. MAYO, (after a pause} What s come over Andy tonight, 
I wonder? He acts so strange. 

MAYO. He does seem sort o glum and out of sorts. It s 
count o Robert leavin , I s pose. (To SCOTT) Dick, you 
wouldn t believe how them boys o mine sticks together. They 
ain t like most brothers. They ve been thick as thieves all their 
lives, with nary a quarrel I kin remember. 

SCOTT. No need to tell me that. I can see how they take 
to each other. 

MRS. MAYO, (pursuing her train of thought} Did you notice, 
James, how queer everyone was at supper? Robert seemed 
stirred up about something; and Ruth was so flustered and 
giggly; and Andy sat there dumb, looking as if he d lost his 
best friend; and all of them only nibbled at their food. 


MAYO. Guess they was all thinkin about tomorrow, same 
as us. 

MRS. MAYO, (shaking her head) No. I m afraid somethin s 
happened somethin else. 

MAYO. You mean bout Ruth? 

MRS. MAYO. Yes. 

MAYO, (after a pause frowning) I hope her and Andy 
ain t had a serious fallin -out. I always sorter hoped they d 
hitch up together sooner or later. What d you say, Dick? Don t 
you think them two d pair up well? 

SCOTT, (nodding his head approvingly) A sweet, whole 
some couple they d make. 

MAYO. It d be a good thing for Andy in more ways than 
one. I ain t what you d call calculatin generally, and I b lieve 
in lettin young folks run their affairs to suit themselves; but 
there s advantages for both o them in this match you can t 
overlook in reason. The Atkins farm is right next to ourn. 
Jined together they d make a jim-dandy of a place, with plenty 
o room to work in. And bein a widder with only a daughter, 
and laid up all the time to boot, Mrs. Atkins can t do nothin 
with the place as it ought to be done. She needs a man, a 
first-class farmer, to take hold o things; and Andy s just the one. 

MRS. MAYO, (abruptly) I don t think Ruth loves Andy. 

MAYO. You don t? Well, maybe a woman s eyes is sharper 
in such things, but they re always together. And if she don t 
love him now, she ll likely come around to it in time. (As MRS. 
MAYO shakes her head) You seem mighty fixed in your opinion, 
Katey. How d you know ? 

MRS. MAYO. It s just what I feel. 

MAYO, (a light breaking over him) You don t mean to say 


(MRS. MAYO nods. MAYO chuckles scornfully) Shucks ! I m 
losin my respect for your eyesight, Katey. Why, Robert ain t 
got no time for Ruth, cept as a friend ! 

MRS. MAYO, (warningly) Sss-h-h ! (The door from the yard 
opens, and ROBERT enters. He is smiling happily, and humming 
a song to himself, but as he comes into the room an undercurrent 
of nervous uneasiness manifests itself in his bearing). 

MAYO. So here you be at last! (ROBERT comes forward and 
sits on ANDY S chair. MAYO smiles slyly at his wife) What 
have you been doin all this time countin the stars to see if 
they all come out right and proper? 

ROBERT. There s only one I ll ever look for any more, Pa. 

MAYO, (reproachfully) You might ve even not wasted time 
lookin for that one your last night. 

MRS. MAYO, (as if she were speaking to a child) You ought 
to have worn your coat a sharp night like this, Robbie. 

SCOTT, (disgustedly) God A mighty, Kate, you treat Rob 
ert as if he was one year old ! 

MRS. MAYO, (notices ROBERT S nervous uneasiness) You 
look all worked up over something, Robbie. What is it? 

ROBERT, (swallowing hard, looks quickly from one to the 
other of them then begins determinedly) Yes, there is some 
thing something I must tell you all of you. (As he begins 
to talk ANDREW enters quietly from the rear, closing the door 
behind him, and setting the lighted lantern on the floor. He 
remains standing by the door, his arms folded, listening to 
ROBERT with a repressed expression of pain on his face. ROBERT 
is so much taken up with what he is going to say that he does 
not notice ANDREW S presence.) Something I discovered only this 
evening very beautiful and wonderful something I did not 


take into consideration previously because I hadn t dared to 
hope that such happiness could ever come to me. (Appealingly) 
You must all remember that fact, won t you ? 

MAYO, (frowning) Let s get to the point, son. 

ROBERT, (with a trace of defiance) Well, the point is this, 
Pa: I m not going I mean I can t go tomorrow with Uncle 
Dick or at any future time, either. 

MRS. MAYO, (with a sharp sigh of joyful relief) Oh, Robbie, 
I m so glad ! 

MAYO, (astounded) You ain t serious, be you, Robert? (Se 
verely) Seems to me it s a pretty late hour in the day for you 
to be upscttin all your plans so sudden ! 

ROBERT. I asked you to remember that until this evening I 
didn t know myself. I had never dared to dream 

MAYO, (irritably) What is this foolishness you re talkin of? 

ROBERT, (flushing) Ruth told me this evening that she 
loved me. It was after I d confessed I loved her. I told her 
I hadn t been conscious of my love until after the trip had 
been arranged, and I realized it would mean leaving her. 
That was the truth. I didn t know until then. (As if justifying 
himself to the others) I hadn t intended telling her anything 
but suddenly I felt I must. I didn t think it would matter, 
because I was going away. And I thought she loved someone 
else. (Slowly his eyes shining) And then she cried and said 
it was I she d loved all the time, but I hadn t seen it. 

MRS. MAYO, (rushes over and throws her arms about him) 
I knew it! I was just telling your father when you came in 
and, Oh, Robbie, I m so happy you re not going! 

ROBERT, (kissing her) I knew you d be glad, Ma. 

MAYO, (bewilderedly) Well, I ll be damned ! You do beat 


all for gettin folks minds all tangled up, Robert. And Ruth 
too ! Whatever got into her of a sudden ? Why, I was 

MRS. MAYO, (hurriedly in a tone of warning) Never mind 
what you were thinking, James. It wouldn t be any use telling 
us that now. (Meaningly) And what you were hoping for 
turns out just the same almost, doesn t it? 

MAYO, (thoughtfully beginning to see this side of the argu 
ment) Yes; I suppose you re right, Katey. (Scratching his 
head in puzzlement) But how it ever come about! It do beat^ 
anything ever I heard. (Finally he gets up with a sheepish 
grin and walks over to ROBERT) We re glad you ain t goin , 
your Ma and I, for we d have missed you terrible, that s certain 
and sure ; and we re glad you ve found happiness. Ruth s a fine 
girl and ll make a good wife to you. 

ROBERT, (much moved) Thank you, Pa. (He grips his 
father s hand in his). 

ANDREW, (his face tense and drawn comes forward and holds 
out his hand, forcing a smile) I guess it s my turn to offer 
congratulations, isn t it? 

ROBERT, (with a startled cry when his brother appears before 
him so suddenly) Andy! (Confused) Why I I didn t see 
you. Were you here when 

ANDREW. I heard everything you said ; and here s wishing you 
every happiness, you and Ruth. You both deserve the best 
there is. . 

ROBERT, (taking his hand) Thanks, Andy, it s fine of you 

to (His voice dies away as he sees the pain in ANDREW S 


ANDREW, (giving his brother s hand a final grip) Good luck 


to you both ! (He turns away and goes back to the rear where 
he bends over the lantern, fumbling with it to hide his emotion 
from the others). 

MRS. MAYO, (to the CAPTAIN, who ha* been too flabbergasted 
by ROBERT S decision to say a word) What s the matter, Dick? 
Aren t you going to congratulate Robbie? 

SCOTT, (embarrassed) Of course I be! (He gets to his 
feet and shakes ROBERT S hand, muttering a rogue) Luck to 
you, boy. (He stands beside ROBERT as if he wanted to say 
something more but doesn t know how to go about it). 

ROBERT. Thanks, Uncle Dick. 

SCOTT. So you re not acomin on the Sunda with me? (His 
voice indicates disbelief). 

ROBERT. I can t, Uncle not now. I wouldn t miss it for 
anything else in the world under any other circumstances. (He 
sighs unconsciously) But you see I ve found a bigger dream. 
(Then with joyous high spirits) I want you all to understand 
one thing I m not going to be a loafer on your hands any 
longer. This means the beginning of a new life for me in every 
way. I m going to settle right down and take a real interest 
in the farm, and do my share. I ll prove to you, Pa, that I m 
as good a Mayo as you are or Andy, when I want to be. 

MAYO, (kindly but skeptically) That s the right spirit, Rob 
ert. Ain t none of us doubts your willin ness, but you ain t 
never learned 

ROBERT. Then I m going to start learning right away, and 
you ll teach me, won t you? 

MAYO, (mollifyingly) Of course I will, boy, and be glad 
to, only you d best go easy at first. 

SCOTT, (who has listened to this conversation in mingled 


consternation and amazement) You don t mean to tell me you re 
goin to let him stay, do you, James? 

MAYO. Why, things bein as they be, Robert s free to do as 
he s a mind to. 

MRS. MAYO. Let him! The very idea! 

SCOTT, (more and more ruffled) Then all I got to say is, 
you re a soft, weak-willed critter to be permittin a boy and 
women, too to be layin your course for you wherever they 
damn pleases. 

MAYO, (slyly amused) It s just the same with me as twas 
with you, Dick. You can t order the tides on the seas to suit 
you, and I ain t pretendin I can reg late love for young folks. 

SCOTT, (scornfully) Love! They ain t old enough to know 
love when they sight it! Love! I m ashamed of you, Robert, 
to go lettin a little huggin and kissin in the dark spile your 
chances to make a man out o yourself. It ain t common sense 
no siree, it ain t not by a hell of a sight ! (He pounds the 
table with his fists in exasperation). 

MRS. MAYO, (laughing provokingly at her brother) A fine 
one you are to be talking about love, Dick an old cranky 
bachelor like you. Goodness sakes ! 

SCOTT, (exasperated by their joking) I ve never been a 
damn fool like most, if that s what you re steerin at. 

MRS. MAYO, (tauntingly) Sour grapes, aren t they, Dick? 
(She laughs. ROBERT and his father chuckle. SCOTT sputters 
with annoyance) Good gracious, Dick, you do act silly, flying 
into a temper over nothing. 

SCOTT, (indignantly) Nothin ! You talk as if I wasn t con 
cerned nohow in this here business. Seems to me I ve got a 
right to have my say. Ain t I made all arrangements with the 


owners and stocked up with some special grub all on Robert s 
account ? 

ROBERT. You ve been fine, Uncle Dick; and I appreciate it. 

MAYO. Course; we all does, Dick. 

SCOTT, (unplacated) I ve been countin sure on havin Robert 
for company on this vige to sorta talk to and show things 
to, and teach, kinda, and I got my mind so set on havin him 
I m goin to be double lonesome this vige. (He pounds on the 
table, attempting to cover up this confession of weakness) 
Darn all this silly lovin business, anyway. (Irritably) But all 
this talk ain t tellin me what I m to do with that sta b d cabin 
I fixed up. It s all painted white, an a bran new mattress 
on the bunk, n new sheets n blankets V things. And Chips 
built in a book-case so s Robert could take his books along 
with a slidin bar fixed across t it, mind, so s they couldn t fall 
out no matter how she rolled. (With excited consternation) 
What d you suppose my officers is goin to think when there s 
no one comes aboard to occupy that sta b d cabin? And the 
men what did the work on it what ll they think? (He shakes 
his finger indignantly) They re liable as not to suspicion it 
was a -woman I d planned to ship along, and that she gave me the 
go-by at the last moment ! (He wipes his perspiring brow in 
anguish at this thought). Gawd A mighty ! They re only lookin 
to have the laugh on me for something like that. They re liable 
to b lieve anything, those fellers is ! 

MAYO, (with a wink) Then there s nothing to it but for 
you to get right out and hunt up a wife somewheres for that 
spick n span cabin. She ll have to be a pretty one, too, to 
match it. (He looks at his watch with exaggerated concern) 
You ain t got much time to find her, Dick. 


SCOTT, (as the others smile sulkily) You kin go to thunder, 
Jim Mayo! 

ANDREW, (comes forward from where he has been standing 
by the door f rear, brooding. His face is set in a look of grim 
determination) You needn t worry about that spare cabin, Uncle 
Dick, if you ve a mind to take me in Robert s place. 

ROBERT, (turning to him quickly) Andy! (He sees at once 
the fixed resolve in his brother s eyes f and realizes immediately 
the reason for it in consternation) Andy, you mustn t! 

ANDREW. You ve made your decision, Rob, and now I ve 
made mine. You re out of this, remember. 

ROBERT, (hurt by his brother s tone) But Andy 

ANDREW. Don t interfere, Rob that s all I ask. (Turning 
to his uncle) You haven t answered my question, Uncle Dick. 

SCOTT, (clearing his throat, with an uneasy side glance at 
JAMES MAYO who is staring at his elder son as if he thought he 
had suddenly gone mad) O course, I d be glad to have you, 

ANDREW. It s settled then. I can pack the little I want to 
take in a few minutes. 

MRS. MAYO. Don t be a fool, Dick. Andy s only joking you. 

SCOTT, (disgruntedly) It s hard to tell who s jokin and 
who s not in this house. 

ANDREW, (firmly) I m not joking, Uncle Dick (As SCOTT 
looks at him uncertainly) You needn t be afraid I ll go back 
on my word. 

ROBERT, (hurt by the insinuation he feels in ANDREW S tone) 
Andy! That isn t fair! 

MAYO, (frowning) Seems to me this ain t no subject to joke 
over not for Andy. 

ANDREW, (facing his father) I agree with you, Pa, and I 


tell you ai r ain, once and for all, that I ve made up my mind to go. 

MAYO. (dumbfounded unable to doubt the determination in 
ANDREW S voice helplessly) But why, son? Why? 

ANDREW, (evasively) I ve always wanted to go. 

ROBERT. Andy ! 

ANDREW, (half angrily) You shut up, Rob! (Turning to 
his father again) I didn t ever mention it because as long as 
Rob was going I knew it was no use; but now Rob s staying 
on here, there isn t any reason for me not to go. 

MAYO, (breathing hard) No reason? Can you stand there 
and say that to me, Andrew? 

MRS. MAYO, (hastily seeing the gathering storm) He 
doesn t mean a word of it, James. 

MAYO, (making a gesture to her to keep silence) Let me 
talk, Katey. (In a more kindly tone) What s come over you 
so sudden, Andy? You know s well as I do that it wouldn t 
be fair o you to run off at a moment s notice right now when 
we re up to our necks in hard work. 

ANDREW, (avoiding his eyes) Rob ll hold his end up as soon 
as he learns. 

MAYO. Robert was never cut out for a farmer, and you was. 

ANDREW. You can easily get a man to do my work. 

MAYO, (restraining his anger with an effort) It sounds 
strange to hear you, Andy, that I always thought had good 
sense, talkin crazy like that (Scornfully) Get a man to take 
your place! You ain t been workin here for no hire, Andy, 
that you kin give me your notice to quit like you ve done. The 
farm is your n as well as mine. You ve always worked on it 
with that understanding; and what you re sayin you intend doin 
is just skulkin out o your rightful responsibility. 

ANDREW, (looking at the floor simply) I m sorry, Pa. 


(After a slight pause") It s no use talking any more about it. 

MRS. MAYO, (in relief) There ! I knew Andy d come to his 
senses ! 

ANDREW. Don t get the wrong idea, Ma. I m not backing out. 
MAYO. You mean you re goin in spite of everythin ? 

ANDREW. Yes. I m going. I ve got to. (He looks at his 
father defiantly) I feel I oughn t to miss this chance to go out 
into the world and see things, and I want to go. 

MAYO, (with bitter scorn) So you want to go out into the 
world and see thin s ! (His voice raised and quivering with 
anger) I never thought I d live to see the day when a son o 
mine d look me in the face and tell a bare-faced lie ! (Bursting 
out) You re a liar, Andy Mayo, and a mean one to boot ! 

MRS. MAYO. James ! 


SCOTT. Steady there, Jim! 

MAYO, (waving their protests aside) He is and he knows it. 

ANDREW, (his face flushed) I won t argue with you, Pa. 
You can think as badly of me as you like. 

MAYO, (shaking his finger at ANDY, in a cold rage) You 
know I m speakin truth that s why you re afraid to argy ! 
You lie when you say you want to go way and see thin s ! 
You ain t got no likin in the world to go. I ve watched you 
grow up, and I know your ways, and they re my ways. You re 
runnin against your own nature, and you re goin to be a mighty 
sorry for it if you do. S if I didn t know your real reason 
for runnin away! And runnin away s the only words to fit 
it. You re runnin away cause you re put out and riled cause 
your own brother s got Ruth stead o you, and 

ANDREW, (his face crimson tensely) Stop, Pa! I won t 
stand hearing that not even from you! 


MRS. MAYO, (rushing to ANDY and putting her arms about 
him protectingly) Don t mind him, Andy dear. He don t mean 
a word he s saying! (ROBERT stands rigidly, his hands clenched, 
his face contracted by pain. SCOTT sits dumbfounded and open- 
mouthed. ANDREW soothes his mother who is on the verge of 

MAYO, (in angry triumph) It s the truth, Andy Mayo! And 
you ought to be bowed in shame to think of it! 

ROBERT, (protestingly) Pa! 

MRS. MAYO, (coming from ANDREW to his father; puts her 
hands on his shoulders as though to try and push him back in 
the chair from which he has risen) Won t you be still, James? 
Please won t you? 

MAYO, (looking at ANDREW over his wife s shoulder stub 
bornly) The truth God s truth ! 

MRS. MAYO. Sh-h-h ! (She tries to put a finger across his 
lips, but he twists his head away). 

ANDREW, (who has regained control over himself) You re 
wrong, Pa, it isn t truth. (JVith defiant assertiveness) I don t 
love Ruth. I never loved her, and the thought of such a thing 
never entered my head. 

MAYO, (with an angry snort of disbelief) Hump ! You re 
pilin lie on lie! 

ANDREW, (losing his temper bitterly) I suppose it d be 
hard for you to explain anyone s wanting to leave this blessed 
farm except for some outside reason like that. But I m sick 
and tired of it whether you want to believe me or not and 
that s why I m glad to get a chance to move on. 

ROBERT. Andy ! Don t ! You re only making it worse. 

ANDREW, (sulkily) I don t care. I ve done my share of 
work here. I ve earned my right to quit when I want to. 


(Suddenly overcome with anger and grief; with rising intensity) 
I m sick and tired of the whole damn business. I hate the 
farm and every inch of ground in it. I m sick of digging in the 
dirt and sweating in the sun like a slave without getting a word 
of thanks for it. (Tears of rage starting to his eyes hoarsely) 
I m through, through for good and all ; and if Uncle Dick won t 
take me on his ship, I ll find another. I ll get away somewhere, 

MRS. MAYO, (in a frightened voice) Don t you answer him, 
James. He doesn t know what he s saying. Don t say a word to 
him til he s in his right senses again. Please James, don t 

MAYO, (pushes her away from him; his face is drawn and 
pale with the violence of his passion. He glares at ANDREW a* 
if he hated him) You dare to you dare to speak like that 
to me? You talk like that bout this farm the Mayo farm 

where you was born you you (He clenches his fist above 

his head and advances threateningly on ANDREW) You damned 
whelp ! 

MRS. MAYO, (with a shriek) James! (She covers her face 
with her hands and sinks weakly into MAYO S chair. ANDREW 
remains standing motionless , his face pale and set). 

SCOTT, (starting to his feet and stretching his arms across 
the table toward MAYO) Easy there, Jim ! 

ROBERT, (throwing himself between father and brother) 
Stop ! Are you mad ? 

MAYO, (grabs ROBERT S arm and pushes him aside then 
stands for a moment gasping for breath before ANDREW. He 
points to the door with a shaking finger) Yes go! go! 
You re no son o mine no son o mine! You can go to hell if 


you want to! Don t let me find you here in the mornin 
or or I ll throw you out! 

ROBERT. Pa! For God s sake! (MRS. MAYO bursts into noisy 

MAYO, (he gulps convulsively and glares at ANDREW) You 
go tomorrow mornin and by God don t come back don t 

dare come back by God, not while I m livin or I ll I ll 

(He shakes over his muttered threat and strides toward the door 
rear, right). 

MRS. MAYO, (rising and throwing her arms around him 
hysterically) James! James! Where are you going? 

MAYO, (incoherently) I m goin to bed, Katey. It s late, 
Katey it s late. (He goes out). 

MRS. MAYO, (following him, pleading hysterically) James! 
Take back what you ve said to Andy. James! (She follows 
him out. ROBERT and the CAPTAIN stare after them with horri 
fied eyes. ANDREW stands rigidly looking straight in front of 
him, his fists clenched at his sides). 

SCOTT, (the first to find his voice with an explosive sigh) 
Well, if he ain t the devil himself when he s roused! You 
oughtn t to have talked to him that way, Andy bout the damn 
farm, knowin how touchy he is about it. (With another sigh) 
Well, you won t mind what he s said in anger. He ll be sorry 
for it when he s calmed down a bit. 

ANDREW, (in a dead voice) You don t know him. (De 
fiantly) What s said is said and can t be unsaid; and I ve 

ROBERT, (with violent protest) Andy! You can t go! This 
is all so stupid and terrible ! 

ANDREW, (coldly) I ll talk to you in a minute, Rob. (Crushed 


by his brother s attitude ROBERT sinks down into a chair, holding 
his head in his hands}. 

SCOTT, (comes and slaps ANDREW on the back) I m damned 
glad you re shippin on, Andy. I like your spirit, and the way 
you spoke up to him. (Lowering his voice to a cautious whisper) 
The sea s the place for a young feller like you that isn t half 
dead n alive. (He gives ANDY a final approving slap) You 
V me 11 get along like twins, see if we don t. I m goin aloft 
to turn in. Don t forget to pack your dunnage. And git some 
sleep, if you kin. We ll want to sneak out extra early b fore 
they re up. It ll do away with more argyments. Robert can 
drive us down to the town, and bring back the team. (He goes 
to the door in the rear, left) Well, good night. 

ANDREW. Good night. (SCOTT goes out. The two brothers 
remain silent for a moment. Then ANDREW comes over to his 
brother and puts a hand on his back. He speaks in a low voice, 
full of feeling) Buck up, Rob. It ain t any use crying over 
spilt milk; and it ll all turn out for the best let s hope. It 
couldn t be helped what s happened. 

ROBERT, (wildly) But it s a lie, Andy, a lie ! 

ANDREW. Of course it s a lie. You know it and I know it, 
but that s all ought to know it. 

ROBERT. Pa ll never forgive you. Oh, the whole affair is so 
senseless and tragic. Why did you think you must go away? 

ANDREW. You know better than to ask that. You know 
why. (Fiercely) I can wish you and Ruth all the good luck 
in the world, and I do, and I mean it; but you can t expect 
me to stay around here and watch you two together, day after 
day and me alone. I couldn t stand it not after all the plans 


I d made to happen on this place thinking (his voice 

breaks) thinking she cared for me. 

ROBERT, (putting a hand on his brother s arm) God ! It s 
horrible ! I feel so guilty to think that I should be the cause 
of your suffering, after we ve been such pals all our live**. If I 
could have foreseen what d happen, I swear to you I d have 
never said a word to Ruth. I swear I wouldn t have, Andy! 

ANDREW. I know you wouldn t; and that would ve been worse, 
for Ruth would ve suffered then. (He pats his brother s shoul 
der) It s best as it is. It had to be, and I ve got to stand 
the gaff, that s all. Pa ll see how I felt after a time. (At 
ROBERT shakes his head) and if he don t well, it can t be 

ROBERT. But think of Ma ! God, Andy, you can t go ! You 
can t! 

ANDREW, (fiercely) I ve got to go to get away! I ve 
got to, I tell you. I d go crazy here, bein reminded every 
second of the day what a fool I d made of myself. I ve got 
to get away and try and forget, if I can. And I d hate the 
farm if I stayed, hate it for bringin things back. I couldn t 
take interest in the work any more, work with no purpose in 
sight. Can t you see what a hell it d be? You love her too, 
Rob. Put yourself in my place, and remember I haven t 
stopped loving her, and couldn t if I was to stay. Would that 
be fair to you or to her? Put yourself in my place. (He 
shakes his brother fiercely by the shoulder) What d you do 
then? Tell me the truth! You love her. What d you do? 

ROBERT. (chokingly) I d I d go, Andy! (He buries his 
face in his hands with a shuddering sob) God! 

ANDREW, (seeming to relax suddenly all over his body in 


a low, steady voice) Then you know why I got to go; and 
there s nothing more to be said. 

ROBERT, (in a frenzy of rebellion) Why did this have to 
happen to us? It s damnable! (He looks about him wildly, as 
if his vengeance were seeking the responsible fate). 

ANDREW, (soothingly again putting his hands on his 
brother s shoulder) It s no use fussing any more, Rob. It s 
done. (Forcing a smile) I guess Ruth s got a right to have 
who she likes. She made a good choice and God bless her 
for it ! 

ROBERT. Andy! Oh, I wish I could tell you half I feel 
of how fine you are ! 

ANDREW. (interrupting him quickly) Shut up ! Let s go to 
bed. I ve got to be up long before sun-up. You, too, if you re 
going to drive us down. 

ROBERT. Yes. Yes. 

ANDREW, (turning down the lamp) And I ve got to pack 
yet. (He yawns with utter weariness) I m as tired as if I d 
been plowing twenty-four hours at a stretch. (Dully) I feel 
dead. (ROBERT covers his face again with his hands. ANDREW 
shakes his head as if to get rid of his thoughts, and continues 
with a poor attempt at cheery briskness) I m going to douse 
the light. Come on. (He slaps his brother on the back. ROBERT 
does not move. ANDREW bends over and blows out the lamp. 
His voice comes from the darkness) Don t sit there mourning, 
Rob. It ll all come out in the wash. Come on and get some 
sleep. Everything ll turn out all right in the end. (ROBERT 
can be heard stumbling to his feet, and the dark figures of the 
two brothers can be seen groping their way toward the doorway 
in the rear as 

(The Curtain Falls) 




Same as Act One, Scene Two. Sitting room of the farm 
house about half past twelve in the afternoon of a hot, 
sun-baked day in mid-summer, three years later. All the win 
dows are open, but no breeze stirs the soiled white curtains. 
A patched screen door is in the rear. Through it the yard can 
be seen, its small stretch of lawn divided by the dirt path lead 
ing to the door from the gate in the white picket fence which 
borders the road. 

The room has changed, not so much in its outward appear 
ance as in its general atmosphere. Little significant details 
give evidence of carelessness, of inefficiency, of an industry 
gone to seed. The chairs appear shabby from lack of paint; 
the table cover is spotted and askew; holes show in the cur 
tains; a child s doll, with one arm gone, lies under the table; a 
hoe stands in a corner; a man s coat is flung on the couch in the 
rear; the desk is cluttered up with odds and ends; a number 
of books are piled carelessly on the sideboard. The noon 
enervation of the sultry, scorching day seems to have penetrated 
indoors, causing even inanimate objects to wear an aspect of 
despondent exhaustion. 

A place is set at the end of the table, left, for someone s din 
ner. Through the open door to the kitchen comes the clatter 
of dishes being washed, interrupted at intervals by a woman s 

irritated voice and the peevish whining of a child. 



At the rise of the curtain MRS. MAYO and MRS. ATKINS are 
discovered sitting facing each other, MRS. MAYO to the rear, 
MRS. ATKINS to the right of the table. MRS. MAYO S face has lost 
all character, disintegrated, become a weak mask wearing a 
helpless, doleful expression of being constantly on the verge 
of comfortless tears. She speaks in an uncertain voice, with 
out assertiveness, as if all power of willing had deserted her. 
MRS. ATKINS is in her wheel chair. She is a thin, pale-faced, 
unintelligent looking woman of about forty-eight, with h^rd, 
bright eyes. A victim of partial paralysis for many years, con 
demned to be pushed from day to day of her life in a wheel 
chair, she has developed the selfish, irritable nature of the 
chronic invalid. Both women are dressed in black. MRS. ATKINS 
knits nervously as she talks. A ball of unused yarn, with needles 
stuck through it, lies on the table before MRS. MAYO. 

MRS. ATKINS, (with a disapproving giance at the place set 
on the table) Robert s late for his dinner again, as usual. I 
don t see why Ruth puts up with it, and I ve told her so. 
Many s the time I ve said to her "It s about time you put a 
stop to his nonsense. Does he suppose you re runnm a hotel 
with no one to help with things?" But she don t pay no 
attention. She s as bad as he is, a most thinks she knows 
better than an old, sick body like me. 

MRS. MAYO, (dully) Robbie s always late for things. He 
can t help it, Sarah. 

MRS. ATKINS, (with a snort) Can t help it! How you do 
go on, Kate, findin excuses for him! Anybody can help any 
thing they ve a mind to as long as they ve got health, and 


ain t rendered helpless like me (She adds as a pious after 
thought) through the will of God. 

MRS. MAYO. Robbie can t. 

MRS. ATKINS. Can t! It do make me mad, Kate Mayo, to see 
folks that God gave all the use of their limbs to potterin 
round and wastin time doin everything the wrong way 
and me powerless to help and at their mercy, you might say. 
And it ain t that I haven t pointed the right way to em. I ve 
talked to Robert thousands of times and told him how thinu^ 
ought to be done. You know that, Kate Mayo. But d you 
/pose he takes any notice of what I say? Or Ruth, either 
my own daughter? No, they think I m a crazy, cranky old 
woman, half dead a ready, and the sooner I m in the grave and 
out o their way the better it d suit them. 

MRS. MAYO. You mustn t talk that way, Sarah. They re not 
as wicked as that. And you ve got years and years before you. 

MRS. ATKINS. You re like the rest, Kate. You don t know 
how near the end I am. Well, at least I can go to my eternal 
rest with a clear conscience. I ve done all a body could do 
to avert ruin from this house. On their heads be it! 

MRS. MAYO, (with hopeless indifference) Things might be 
worse. Robert never had any experience in farming. You can t 
expect him to learn in a day. 

MRS. ATKINS, (snappily) He s had three years to learn, 
and he s gettin worse stead of better. Not on y your place 
but mine too is driftin to rack and ruin, and I can t do nothin 
to prevent. 

MRS. MAYO, (with a spark of assertiveness) You can t say 
but Robbie works hard, Sarah. 


MRS. ATKINS. What good s workin hard if it don t accom 
plish anything I d like to know? 

MRS. MAYO. Robbie s had bad luck against him. 

MRS. ATKINS. Say what you ve a mind to, Kate, the proof 
of the puddin s in the eatin ; and you can t deny that things 
have been goin from bad to worse ever since your husband died 
two years back. 

MRS. MAYO, (wiping tears from her eyes with her handker 
chief) It was God s will that he should be taken. 

MRS. ATKINS, (triumphantly) It was God s punishment on 
James Mayo for the blasphemin and denyin of God he done 
all his sinful life! (MRS. MAYO begins to weep softly) There, 
Kate, I shouldn t be remindin you, I know. He s at peace, poor 
man, and forgiven, let s pray. 

MRS. MAYO, (wiping her eyes simply) James was a good 

MRS. ATKINS, (ignoring this remark) What I was sayin was 
that since Robert s been in charge things ve been goin down 
hill steady. You don t know how bad they are. Robert don t 
let on to you what s happenin ; and you d never see it your 
self if twas under your nose. But, thank the Lord, Ruth 
still comes to me once in a while for advice when she s worried 
near out of her senses by his goin s-on. Do you know what 
she told me last night? But I forgot, she said not to tell you 
still I think you ve got a right to know, and it s my duty 
not to let such things go on behind your back. 

MRS. MAYO, (wearily) You can tell me if you want to. 

MRS. ATKINS, (bending over toward her in a low voi* 
Ruth was almost crazy about it. Robert told her he d have to 
mortgage the farm said he didn t know how he d pull through 


til harvest without it, and he can t get money any other way. 
(She straightens up indignantly) Now what do you think 
of your Robert? 

MRS. MAYO, (resignedly) If it has to be 

MRS. ATKINS. You don t mean to say you re goin to sign 
away your farm, Kate Mayo after me warnin you? 

MRS. MAYO. I ll do what Robbie says is needful. 

MRS. ATKINS, (holding up her hands) Well, of all the fool 
ishness! well, it s your farm, not mine, and I ve nothin more 
to say. 

MRS. MAYO. Maybe Robbie ll manage till Andy gets back 
and sees to things. It can t be long now. 

MRS. ATKINS (with keen interest) Ruth says Andy ought 
to turn up any day. When does Robert figger he ll get here? 

MRS. MAYO. He says he can t calculate exactly on account 
o the Sunda being a sail boat. Last letter he got was from 
England, the day they were sailing for home. That was over 
a month ago, and Robbie thinks they re overdue now. 

MRS. ATKINS. We can give praise to God then that he ll be 
back in the nick o time. He ought to be tired of travelin 
and anxious to get home and settle down to work again. 

MRS. MAYO. Andy has been working. He s head officer on 
Dick s boat, he wrote Robbie. You know that. 

MRS. ATKINS. That foolin on ships is all right for a spell, 
but he must be right sick of it by this. 

MRS. MAYO, (musingly) I wonder if he s changed much. 
He used to be so fine-looking and strong. (With a sigh) Three 
years ! It seems more like three hundred. (Her eyes filling 
piteously) Oh, if James could only have lived "til he came 
back and forgiven him! 


MRS. ATKINS. He never would have not James Mayo! 
Didn t he keep his heart hardened against him till the last in 
spite of all you and Robert did to soften him? 

MRS. MAYO, (with a feeble flash of anger } Don t you dare 
say that ! (Brokenly) Oh, I know deep down in his heart he 
forgave Andy, though he was too stubborn ever to own up to 
it. It was that brought on his death breaking his heart just 
on account of his stubborn pride. (She wipes her eyes with her 
handkerchief and sobs). 

MRS. ATKINS, (piously) It was the will of God. (The whin 
ing crying of the child sounds from the kitchen. MRS. ATKINS 
frowns irritably) Drat that young one ! Seems as if she cries 
all the time on purpose to set a body s nerves on edge. 

MRS. MAYO, (wiping her eyes) It s the heat upsets her. 
Mary doesn t feel any too well these days, poor little child ! 

MRS. ATKINS. She gets it right from her Pa bein sickly all 
the time. You can t deny Robert was always ailin as a child. 
(She sighs heavily) It was a crazy mistake for them two to get 
married. I argyed against it at the time, but Ruth was so 
spelled with Robert s wild poetry notions she wouldn t listen 
to sense. Andy was the one would have been the match for 

MRS. MAYO. I ve often thought since it might have been 
better the other way. But Ruth and Robbie seem happy enough 

MRS. ATKINS. At any rate it was God s work and His will 
be done. (The two women sit in silence for a moment. RUTH 
enters from the kitchen, carrying in her arms her two year old 
daughter, MARY, a pretty but sickly and cenemic looking child 
with a tear-stained face. RUTH has aged appreciably. Her 


face ha* lost its youth and freshness. There is a trace in her 
expression of something hard and spiteful. She sits in the 
rocker in front of the table and sighs wearily. She wears a 
gingham dress with a soiled apron tied around her waist). 

RUTH. Land sakes, if this isn t a scorcher ! That kitchen s 
like a furnace. Phew! (She pushes the damp hair back from 
her forehead). 

MRS. MAYO. Why didn t you call me to help with the dishes? 

RUTH, (shortly) No. The heat in there d kill you. 

MARY, (sees the doll under the table and struggles on her 
mother s lap) Dolly, Mama! Dolly! 

RUTH, (pulling her back) It s time for your nap. You 
can t play with Dolly now. 

MARY, (commencing to cry whiningly) Dolly! 

MRS. ATKINS, (irritably) Can t you keep that child still? 
Her racket s enough to split a body s ears. Put her down and 
let her play with the doll if it ll quiet her. 

RUTH, (lifting MARY to the floor) There ! I hope you ll 
be satisfied and keep still. (MARY sits down on the floor before 
the table and plays with the doll in silence. RUTH glances at 
the place set on the table) It s a wonder Rob wouldn t try to 
get to meals on time once in a while. 

MRS. MAYO, (dully) Something must have gone wrong 

RUTH, (wearily) I s pose so. Something s always going 
wrong these days, it looks like. 

MRS. ATKINS, (snappily) It wouldn t if you possessed a 
bit of spunk. The idea of you permittin him to come in to 
meals at all hours and you doin the work! I never heard 
of such a thin . You re too easy goin , that s the trouble. 


RUTH. Do stop your nagging at me, Ma! I m sick of 
hearing you. I ll do as I please about it; and thank you for 
not interfering. (She wipes her moist forehead wearily) 
Phew! It s too hot to argue. Let s talk of something pleasant. 
(Curiously) Didn t I hear you speaking about Andy a while 

MRS. MAYO. We were wondering when he d get home. 

RUTH, (brightening) Rob says any day now he s liable 
to drop in and surprise us him and the Captain. It ll cer 
tainly look natural to see him around the farm again. 

MRS. ATKINS. Let s hope the farm ll look more natural, too, 
when he s had a hand at it. The way thin s are now ! 

RUTH, (irritably) Will you stop harping on that, Ma? 
We all know things aren t as they might be. What s the good 
of your complaining all the time? 

MRS. ATKINS. There, Kate Mayo! Ain t that just what I 
told you? I can t say a word of advice to my own daughter 
even, she s that stubborn and self-willed. 

RUTH, (putting her hands over her ears in exasperation) 
For goodness sakes, Ma ! 

MRS. MAYO, (dully) Never mind. Andy ll fix everything 
when he comes. 

RUTH, (hopefully) Oh, yes, If know he will. He always did 
know just the right thing ought to be done. (With weary 
vexation) It s a shame for him to come home and have to start 
in with things in such a topsy-turvy. 

MRS. MAYO. Andy ll manage. 

RUTH, (sighing) I s pose it isn t Rob s fault things go 
wrong with him. 

MRS. ATKINS, (scornfully) Hump ! (She fans herself 


nervously) Land o Goshen, but it s bakin in here! Let s 
go out in under the trees in back where there s a breath of 
fresh air. Come, Kate. (MRS. MAYO gets up obediently and 
starts to wheel the invalid s chair toward the screen door) 
You better come too, Ruth. It ll do you good. Learn him a 
lesson and let him get his own dinner. Don t be such a fool. 

RUTH, (going and holding the screen door open for them 
listlessly) He wouldn t mind. He doesn t eat much. But I 
can t go anyway. I ve got to put baby to bed. 

MRS. ATKINS. Let s go, Kate. I m boilin in here. (MRS. 
MAYO "wheels her out and off left, RUTH comes back and sits 
down in her chair). 

RUTH, (mechanically) Come and let me take off your shoes 
and stockings, Mary, that s a good girl. You ve got to take 
your nap now. (The child continues to play as if she hadn t 
heard, absorbed in her doll. An eager expression comes over 
RUTH S tired face. She glances toward the door furtively 
then gets up and goes to the desk. Her movements indicate 
a guilty fear of discovery. She takes a letter from a pigeon 
hole and retreats swiftly to her chair with it. She opens the 
envelope and reads the letter with great interest, a flush of 
excitement coming to her cheeks. ROBERT walks up the path 
and opens the screen door quietly and comes into the room. 
He, too, has aged. His shoulders are stooped as if under too 
great a burden. His eyes are dull and lifeless, his face burned 
by the sun and unshaven for days. Streaks of sweat have 
smudged the layer of dust on his cheeks. His lips drawn down 
at the corners, give him a hopeless, resigned expression. The 
three years have accentuated the weakness of his mouth and 


chin. He is dressed in overalls, laced boots, and a flannel 
shirt open at the neck). 

ROBERT, (throwing his hat over on the sofa with a great 
sigh of exhaustion) Phew! The sun s hot today! (RUTH is 
startled. At first she makes an instinctive motion as if to hide 
the letter in her bosom. She immediately thinks better of this 
and sits with the letter in her hands looking at him with defiant 
eyes. He bends down and kisses her). 

RUTH, (feeling of her cheek irritably) Why don t you 
shave? You look awful. 

ROBERT, (indifferently) I forgot and it s too much trouble 
this weather. 

MARY, (throwing aside her doll, runs to him with a happy 
cry) Dada ! Dada ! 

ROBERT, (swinging her up above his head lovingly) And 
how s this little girl of mine this hot day, eh? 

MARY, (screeching happily) Dada! Dada! 

RUTH, (in annoyance) Don t do that to her! You know 
it s time for her nap and you ll get her all waked up; then 
I ll be the one that ll have to sit beside her till she falls asleep. 

ROBERT, (sitting down in the chair on the left of table and 
cuddling MARY on his lap) You needn t bother. I ll put her 
to bed. 

RUTH, (shortly) You ve got to get back to your work, I 
s pose. 

ROBERT, (with a sigh) Yes, I was forgetting. (He glances 
at the open letter on RUTH S lap) Reading Andy s letter again? 
I should think you d know it by heart by this time. 

RUTH, (coloring as if she d been accused of something 


defiantly) I ve got a right to read it, haven t I? He says it s 
meant for all of us. 

ROBERT, (with a trace of irritation) Right? Don t be so 
silly. There s no question of right. I was only saying that you 
must know all that s in it after so many readings. 

RUTH. Well, I don t. (She puts the letter on the table and 
gets wearily to her feet) I s pose you ll be wanting your din 
ner now. 

ROBERT, (listlessly) I don t care. I m not hungry. 

RUTH. And here I been keeping it hot for you ! 

ROBERT, (irritably) Oh, all right then. Bring it in ana 
I ll try to eat. 

RUTH. I ve got to get her to bed first. (She goes to lift 
MARY off his lap) Come, dear. It s after time and you can 
hardly keep your eyes open now. 

MARV. (crying) No, no! (Appealing to her father) Dada! 

RUTH, (accusingly to ROBERT) There ! Now see what 
you ve done! I told you not to 

ROBERT, (shortly) Let her alone, then. She s all right 
where she is. She ll fall asleep on my lap in a minute if you ll 
stop bothering her. 

RUTH, (hotly) She ll not do any such thing! She s got 
to learn to mind me ! (Shaking her finger at MARY) You 
naughty child ! Will you come with Mama when she tells you 
for your own good? 

MARY, (clinging to her father) No, Dada! 

RUTH, (losing her temper) A good spanking s what you 
need, my young lady and you ll get one from me if you don *, 
mind better, d you hear? (MARY starts to whimper frightenedly). 


ROBERT, (with sudden anger) Leave her alone ! How often 
have I told you not to threaten her with whipping? I won t 
have it. (Soothing the wailing MARY) There! There, little 
girl ! Baby mustn t cry. Dada won t like you if you do. 
Dada ll hold you and you must promise to go to sleep like 
a good little girl. Will you when Dada asks you? 

MARY, (cuddling up to him) Yes, Dada. 

RUTH, (looking at them, her pale face set and drawn) A 
fine one you are to he telling folks how to do things ! (She 
bites her lips. Husband and wife look into each other s eyes 
with something akin to hatred in their expressions; then RUTH 
turns away with a shrug of affected indifference) All right, 
take care of her then, if you think it s so easy. (She walks 
away into the kitchen). 

ROBERT, (smoothing MARY S hair tenderly) We ll show 
Mama you re a good little girl, won t we? 

MARY, (crooning drowsily) Dada, Dada. 

ROBERT. Let s see: Does your mother take off your shoes 
and stockings before your nap? 

MARY, (nodding with half-shut eyes) Yes, Dada. 

ROBERT, (taking off her shoes and stockings) We ll show 
Mama we know how to do those things, won t we? There s 
one old shoe off and there s the other old shoe and here s 
one old stocking and there s the other old stocking. There 
we are, all nice and cool and comfy. (He bends down and 
kisses her) And now will you promise to go right to sleep if 
Dada takes you to bed? (MARY nods sleepily) That s the 
good little girl. (He gathers her up in his arms carefully 
and carries her into the bedroom. His voice can be heard 
faintly as he lulls the child to sleep. RUTH comes out of the 


kitchen and gets the plate from the table. She hears the voice 
from the room and tiptoes to the door to look in. Then she 
starts for the kitchen but stands for a moment thinking, a look 
of ill-concealed jealousy on her face. At a noise from inside 
she hurriedly disappears into the kitchen. A moment later 
ROBERT re-enters. He comes forward and picks up the shoes 
and stockings which he shoves carelessly under the table. Then, 
seeing no one about, he goes to the sideboard and selects a 
book. Coming back to his chair, he sits down and immediately 
becomes absorbed in reading. RTTH returns from the kitchen 
bringing his plate heaped with food, and a cup of tea. She 
sets those before him and sits down in her former place. 
ROBERT continues to read, oblivious to the food on the table). 

RUTH, (after watching him irritably for a moment) For 
heaven s sakes, put down that old book! Don t you see your 
dinner s petting cold? 

ROBERT, (closing his book) Excuse me, Ruth. I didn t 
notice. (He picks up his knife and fork and begins to eat 
gingerly, without appetite). 

RUTH. I should think you might have some feeling for me, 
Rob, and not always be late for meals. If you think it s fun 
sweltering in that oven of a kitchen to keep things warm for 
you, you re mistaken. 

ROBERT. I m sorry, Ruth, really I am. Something crops up 
every day to delay me. I mean to be here on time. 

RUTH, (with a sigh) Mean-tos don t count. 

ROBERT, (with a conciliating smile) Then punish me, Ruth. 
Let the food get cold and don t bother about me. 

RUTH. I d have to wait just the same to wash up after 


ROBERT. But I can wash up. 

RUTH. A nice mess there d be then! 

ROBERT, (with an attempt at lightness) The food is lucky 
to be able to get cold this weather. (As RUTH doesn t answer 
or smile he opens his book and resumes his reading^ -forcing 
himself to take a mouthful of food every now and then. RUTH 
stares at him in annoyance}. 

RUTH. And besides, you ve got your own work that s got to 
be done. 

ROBERT, (absent-mindedly, without taking his eyes from the 
book) Yes, of course. 

RUTH, (spitefully) Work you ll never get done by reading 
books all the time. 

ROBERT, (shutting the book with a snap) Why do you 
persist in nagging at me for getting pleasure out of reading? 
Is it because (He checks himself abruptly). 

RUTH, (coloring) Because I m too stupid to understand 
them, I s posc you were going to say. 

ROBERT, (shame-facedly) No no. (In exasperation) Why 
do you goad me into saying things I don t mean? Haven t 
I got my share of troubles trying to work this cursed farm 
without your adding to them? You know how hard I ve tried 
to keep things going in spite of bad luck 

RUTH, (scornfully) Bad luck! 

ROBERT. And my own very apparent unfitness for the job, 
I was going to add; but you can t deny there s been bad 
luck to it, too. Why don t you -ake things into consideration? 
Why can t we pull together? We used to. I know it s hard 
on you also. Then why can t we help each other instead of 


RUTH, (sullenly) I do the best I know how. 

ROBERT, (gets up and puts his hand on her shoulder) I 
know you do. But let s both of us try to do better. We can 
both improve. Say a word of encouragement once in a while 
when things go wrong, even if it is my fault. You know the 
odds I ve been up against since Pa died. I m not a farmer. 
I ve never claimed to be one. But there s nothing else I can 
do under the circumstances, and I ve got to pull things through 
somehow. With your help, I can do it. With you against 

me (He shrugs his shoulders. There is a pause. Then he 

bends dorm and kisses her hair with an attempt at cheerful 
ness) So you promise that; and I ll promise to be here when 
the clock strikes and anything else you tell me to. Is it a 
bargain ? 

RUTH, (dully) I s pose so. (They are interrupted by the 
sound of a loud knock at the kitchen door) There s someone 
at the kitchen door. (She hurries out. A moment later she 
reappears) It s Ben. 

ROBERT, (frowning) What s the trouble now, I wonder? 
(In a loud voice) Come on in here, Ben. (BEN slouches in 
from the kitchen. He is a hulking, awkward young fellow with 
a heavy, stupid face and shifty, cunning eyes. He is dressed 
in overalls, boots, etc., and wears a broad-brimmed hat of coarse 
straw pushed back on his head) Well. Ben, what s the matter? 

BEN. (draii lingly) The mowin machine s bust. 

ROBERT. Why, that can t be. The man fixed it only last 

BEN. It s bust just the same. 

ROBERT. And can t vou fix it? 


BEN. No. Don t know what s the matter with the goll- 
darned thing. Twon t work, anyhow. 

ROBERT, (getting up and going for his hat) Wait a minute 
and I ll go look it over. There can t be much the matter 
with it. 

BEN. (impudently) Don t make no diff rence t me whether 
there be or not. I m quittin*. 

ROBERT, (anxiously) You don t mean you re throwing up 
your job here? 

BEN. That s what ! My month s up today and I want what s 
owin t me. 

ROBERT. But why are you quitting now, Ben, when you 
know I ve so much work on hand? I ll have a hard time getting 
another man at such short notice. 

BEN. That s for you to figger. I m quittin . 

ROBERT. But what s your reason? You haven t any com 
plaint to make about the way you ve been treated, have you? 

BEN. No. Tain t that. (Shaking his finger) Look-a-here. 
I m sick o being made fun at, that s what; an I got a job up 
to Timms place; an I m quittin here. 

ROBERT. Being made fun of? I don t understand you. 
Who s making fun of you? 

BEN. They all do. When I drive down with the milk in 
the mornin they all laughs and jokes at me that boy up 
to Harris and the new feller up to Slocum s, and Bill Evans 
down to Meade s, and all the rest on em. 

ROBERT. That s a queer reason for leaving me flat. Won t 
they laugh at you just the same when you re working for 

BEN. They wouldn t dare to. Timms is the best farm here- 


abouts. They was laughin at me for workin for you, that s 
what! "How re things up to the Mayo place?" they hollers 
every mornin . "What s Robert doin now pasturin the cattle 
in the cornlot? Is he seasonin his hay with rain this year, 
same as last?" they shouts. "Or is he inventin some lectrical 
milkin engine to fool them dry cows o his into givin hard 
cider?" (Very much ruffled) That s like they talks; and I 
ain t goin to put up with it no longer. Everyone s always 
knowed me as a first-class hand hereabouts, and I ain t wantin 
em to get no different notion. So I m quittin you. And I 
wants what s comin to me. 

ROBERT, (coldly) Oh, if that s the case, you can go to the 
devil. You ll get your money tomorrow when I get back from 
town not before ! 

BEN. (turning to doorway to kitchen) That suits me. (As 
he goes out he speaks back over his shoulder) And see that 
I do get it, or there ll be trouble. (He disappears and the slam 
ming of the kitchen door is heard). 

ROBERT, (as RUTH comes from where she has been standing 
by the doorway and sits down dejectedly in her old place) 
The stupid damn fool! And now what about the haying? That s 
an example of what I m up against. No one can say I m re 
sponsible for that. 

RUTH. He wouldn t dare act that way with anyone else! 
(Spitefully, with a glance at ANDREW S letter on the table) It s 
lucky Andy s coming back. 

ROBERT, (without resentment) Yes, Andy 11 see the right 
thing to do in a jiffy. (With an affectionate smile) I wonder 
if the old chump s changed much? He doesn t seem to from 
his letters, does he? (Shaking his head) But just the same 


I doubt if he ll want to settle down to a hum-drum farm life, 
after all he s been through. 

RUTH, {resentfully) Andy s not like you. He likes the 

ROBERT, (immersed in his own thoughts enthusiastically) 
Gad, the things he s seen and experienced ! Think of the places 
he s been! All the wonderful far places I used to dream 
about! God, how I envy him! What a trip! (He springs to 
his feet and instinctively goes to the window and stares out at 
the horizon). 

RUTH, (bitterly) I s pose you re sorry now you didn t go? 

ROBERT, (too occupied with his own thoughts to hear her 
vindictively) Oh, those cursed hills out there that I used to 
think promised me so much ! How I ve grown to hate the sight 
of them! They re like the walls of a narrow prison yard 
shutting me in from all the freedom and wonder of life ! (He 
turns back to the room with a gesture of loathing) Sometimes 
I think if it wasn t for you, Ruth, and (his voice softening) 
little Mary, I d chuck everything up and walk down the road 
with just one desire in my heart to put the whole rim of the 
world between me and those hills, and be able to breathe freely 
once more! (He sinks down into his chair and smiles with 
bitter self -scorn) There I go dreaming again -my old fool 

RUTH, (in a low, repressed voice her eyes smoldering) 
You re not the only one! 

ROBERT, (buried in his own thoughts bitterly) And Andy, 
who s had the chance what has he got out of it? His let 
ters read like the diary of a of a farmer! "We re in Singa 
pore now. It s a dirty hole of a place and hotter than hell. 


Two of the crew are down with fever and we re short-handed 
on the work. I ll be damn glad when we sail again, although 
tacking back and forth in these blistering seas is a rotten job 
too!" (Scornfully) That s about the way he summed up his 
impressions of the East. 

RUTH, (her repressed voice trembling) You needn t make 
fun of Andy. 

ROBERT. ,When I think but what s the use? You know 
I wasn t making fun of Andy personally, but his attitude toward 
things is 

RUTH, (her eyes flashing bursting into uncontrollable rage) 
You was too making fun of him ! And I ain t going to stand 
for it! You ought to be ashamed of yourself! (ROBERT stares 
at her in amazement. She continues furiously) A fine one to 
talk about anyone else after the way you ve ruined everything 
with your lazy loafing ! and the stupid way you do things ! 

ROBERT, (angrily) Stop that kind of talk, do you hear? 

RUTH. You findin fault with your own brother who s ten 
times the man you ever was or ever will be! You re jealous, 
that s what ! Jealous because he s made a man of himself, while 

you re nothing but a but a (She stutters incoherently , 

overcome by rage). 

ROBERT. Ruth ! Ruth ! You ll be sorry for talking like that. 

RUTH. I won t! I won t never be sorry! I m only saying 
what I ve been thinking for years. 

ROBERT, (aghast) Ruth! You can t mean that! 

RUTH. What do you think living with a man like you 
having to suffer all the time because you ve never been man 
enough to work and do things like other people. But no! 
You never own up to that. You think you re so much better 


than other folks, with your college education, where you never 
learned a thing, and always reading your stupid books instead 
of working. I s pose you think I ought to be proud to be your 
wife a poor, ignorant thing like me! (Fiercely) But I m not. 
I hate it! I hate the sight of you. Oh, if I d only known! 
If I hadn t been such a fool to listen to your cheap, silly, 
poetry talk that you learned out of books ! If I could have 
seen how you were in your true self like you are now I d 
have killed myself before I d have married you! I was sorry 
for it before we d been together a month. I knew what you 
were really like when it was too late. 

ROBERT, (his voice raised loudly) And now I m finding 
out what you re really like what a a creature I ve been living 
with. (With a harsh laugh) God! It wasn t that I haven t 
guessed how mean and small you are but I ve kept on telling 
myself that I must be wrong like a fool ! like a damned 

RUTH. You were saying you d go out on the road if it wasn t 
for me. Well, you can go, and the sooner the better ! I don t 
care ! I ll be glad to get rid of you ! The farm ll be better off 
too. There s been a curse on it ever since you took hold. 
So go ! Go and be a tramp like you ve always wanted. It s 
all you re good for. I can get along without you, don t you 
worry. (Exulting fiercely) Andy s coming back, don t forget 
that ! He ll attend to things like they should be. He ll show 
what a man can do! I don t need you. Andy s coming! 

ROBERT, (they are both standing. ROBERT grabs her by the 
shoulders and glares into her eyes) What do you mean? (He 
shakes her violently) What are you thinking of? What s in 
your evil mind, you you (His voice is a harsh shout). 


RUTH, (in a defiant scream) Yes I do mean it! I d say 
it if you was to kill me ! I do love Andy. I do ! I do ! I 
always loved him. (Exultantly) And he loves me! He loves 
me ! I know he does. He always did ! And you know he 
did, too ! So go ! Go if you want to ! 

ROBERT, (throwing her away from him. She staggers back 
against the table thickly) You you slut! (He stands glar 
ing at her as she leans back, supporting herself by the table, 
gasping for breath. A loud frightened whimper sounds from 
the awakened child in the bedroom. It continues. The man 
and woman stand looking at one another in horror , the extent 
of their terrible quarrel suddenly brought home to them. A 
pause. The noise of a horse and carriage comes from the road 
before the house. The two, suddenly struck by the same premo 
nition, listen to it breathlessly, as to a sound heard in a dream. 
It stops. They hear ANDY S voice from the road shouting a long 
hail "Ahoy there!") 

RUTH, (with a strangled cry of joy) Andy! Andy! (She 
rushes and grabs the knob of the screen door, about to fling it 

ROBERT, (in a voice of command that forces obedience) 
Stop! (He goes to the door and gently pushes the trembling 
RUTH away from it. The child s crying rises to a louder pitch) 
I ll meet Andy. You better go in to Mary, Ruth. (She looks 
at him defiantly for a moment, but there is something in his 
eyes that makes her turn and walk slowly into the bedroom). 

ANDY S VOICE, (in a louder shout) Ahoy there, Rob! 

ROBERT, (in an answering shout of forced cheeriness) Hello, 
Andy ! (He opens the door and walks out a* 

(The Curtain Falls) 



The top of a hill on the farm. It is about eleven o clock the 
next morning. The day is hot and cloudless. In the distance 
the sea can be seen. 

The top of the hill slopes downward slightly toward the left. 
A big boulder stands in the center toward the rear. Further 
right, a large oak tree. The faint trace of a path leading up 
ward to it from the left foreground can be detected through 
the bleached, sun-scorched grass. 

ROBERT is discovered sitting on the boulder, his chin resting 
on his hands, staring out toward the horizon seaward. His face 
is pale and haggard, his expression one of utter despondency. 
MARY i* sitting on the grass near him in the shade, playing with 
her doll, singing happily to herself. Presently she casts a 
curious glance at her father, and, propping her doll up against 
the tree, comes over and clambers to his side. 

MARY, {pulling at his hand solicitously} Dada sick? 

ROBERT, (looking at her with a forced smile) No, dear. 

MARY. Play wif Mary. 

ROBERT, (gently) No, dear, not today. Dada doesn t feel 
like playing today. 

MARY, (protestingly) Yes, Dada! 

ROBERT. No, dear. Dada does feel sick a little. He s got 

a bad headache. 



MARY. Mary see. (He bend* his head. She pats his hair) 
Bad head. 

ROBERT, (kissing her with a smile) There! It s better 
now, dear, thank you. (She cuddles up close against him. There 
is a pause during which each of them looks out seaward) Finally 
ROBERT turns to her tenderly) Would you like Dada to go 
away? far, far away? 

MARY, (tearfully) No! No! No, Dada, no! 

ROBERT. Don t you like Uncle Andy the man that came 
yesterday not the old man with the white mustache the other? 

MARY. Mary loves Dada. 

ROBERT, (with fierce determination) He won t go away, 
baby. He was only joking. He couldn t leave his little Mary. 
(He presses the child in his arms). 

MARY, (with an exclamation of pain) Oh! Hurt! 

ROBERT. I m sorry, little girl. (He lifts her down to the 
grass) Go play with Dolly, that s a good girl; and be careful 
to keep in the shade. (She reluctantly leaves him and takes 
up her doll again. A moment later she points down the hill to 
the lit). 

MARY. Mans, Dada. 

ROBERT, (looking that way) It s your Uncle Andy. (A 
moment later ANDREW comes up from the left, whistling cheer 
fully. He has changed but little in appearance, except for 
the fact that his face has been deeply bronzed by his yeart in 
the tropics; but there is a decided change in his manner. The 
old easy-going good-nature seems to have been partly lost in a 
breezy, business-like briskness of voice and gesture. There if 
an authoritative note in his speech as though he were accus 
tomed to give orders and have them obeyed as a matter of 


course. He is dressed in the simple blue uniform and cap of 
a merchant ship s officer). 

ANDREW. Here you are, eh? 

ROBERT. Hello, Andy. 

ANDREW, (going over to MARY) And who s this young lady 
I find you all alone with, eh? Who s this pretty young lady? 
(He tickles the laughing f squirming MARY, then lifts her up at 
arm s length over his head) Upsy daisy! (He sets her down 
on the ground again) And there you are! (He walks over 
and sits down on the boulder beside ROBERT who moves to one 
side to make room for him) Ruth told me I d probably find 
you up top-side here; but I d have guessed it, anyway. (He 
digs his brother in the ribs affectionately) Still up to your 
old tricks, you old beggar ! I can remember how you used to 
come up here to mope and dream in the old days. 

ROBERT, (with a smile) I come up here now because it s 
the coolest place on the farm. I ve given up dreaming. 

ANDREW, (grinning) I don t believe it. You can t have 
changed that much. (After a pause with boyish enthusiasm) 
Say, it sure brings back old times to be up here with you having 
a chin all by our lonesomes again. I feel great being back 

ROBERT. It s great for us to have you back. 

ANDREW, (after a pause meaningly) I ve been looking 
over the old place with Ruth. Things don t seem to be 

ROBERT, (his face flushing interrupts his brother shortly) 
Never mind the damn farm! Let s talk about something in 
teresting. This is the first chance I ve had to have a word 
with you alone. Tell me about your trip. 

ANDREW. Why, I thought I told you everything in my letters. 


ROBERT, (smiling) Your letters were sketchy, to say the 

ANDREW. Oh, I know I m no author. You needn t be afraid 
of hurting my feelings. I d rather go through a typhoon again 
than write a letter. 

ROBERT, (with eager interest) Then you were through a 
typhoon ? 

ANDREW. Yes in the China sea. Had to run before it 
under bare poles for two days. I thought we were bound 
down for Davy Jones, sure. Never dreamed waves could get 
so big or the wind blow so hard. If it hadn t been for Uncle 
Dick being such a good skipper we d have gone to the sharks, 
all of us. As it was we came out minus a main top-mast and 
had to beat back to Hong-Kong for repairs. But I must have 
written you all this. 

ROBERT. You never mentioned it. 

ANDREW. Well, there was so much dirty work getting things 
ship-shape again I must have forgotten about it. 

ROBERT. (looking at ANDREW marveling) Forget a ty 
phoon? (u ith a trace of scorn) You re a strange combina 
tion, Andy. And is what you ve told me all you remembei 
about it? 

ANDREW. Oh, I could give you your bellyful of details if 
I wanted to turn loose on you. It was all-wool-and-a-yard- 
wide-Hell, I ll tell you. You ought to have been there. I 
remember thinking about you at the worst of it, and saying to 
myself: "This d cure Rob of them ideas of his about the beau 
tiful sea, if he could see it." And it would have too, you bet! 
(He nods emphatically}. 


ROBERT, (dryly) The sea doesn t seem to have impressed 
you very favorably. 

ANDREW. I should say it didn t ! I ll never set foot on a 
ship again if I can help it except to carry me some place I 
can t get to by train. 

ROBERT. But you studied to become an officer ! 

ANDREW. Had to do something or I d gone mad. The days 
were like years. (He laughs) And as for the East you used 
to rave about well, you ought to see it, and smell it! One 
walk down one of their filthy narrow streets with the tropic 
sun beating on it would sicken you for life with the "wonder 
and mystery" you used to dream of. 

ROBERT, (shrinking from his brother with a glance of aver 
sion) So all you found in the East was a stench? 

ANDREW. A stench ! Ten thousand of them ! 

ROBERT. But you did like some of the places, judging from 
your letters Sydney, Buenos Aires 

ANDREW. Yes, Sydney s a good town. (Enthusiastically) 
But Buenos Aires there s the place for you. Argentine s a 
country where a fellow has a chance to make good. You re 
right I like it. And I ll tell you, Rob, that s right where I m 
going just as soon as I ve seen you folks a while and can get 
a ship. I can get a berth as second officer, and I ll jump the 
ship when I get there. I ll need every cent of the wages 
Uncle s paid me to get a start at something in B. A. 

ROBERT, (staring at his brother slowly) So you re not 
going to stay on the farm? 

ANDREW. Why sure not! Did you think I was? There 
wouldn t be any sense. One of us is enough to run this little 


ROBERT. I suppose it does seem small to you now. 

ANDREW, (not noticing the sarcasm in ROBERT S foee) 
You ve no idea, Rob, what a splendid place Argentine is. I 
had a letter from a marine insurance chap that I d made 
friends with in Hong-Kong to his brother, who s in the grain 
business in Buenos Aires. He took quite a fancy to me, and 
what s more important, he offered me a job if I d come back 
there. I d have taken it on the spot, only I couldn t leave 
Uncle Dick in the lurch, and I d promised you folks to come 
home. But I m going back there, you bet, and then you watch 
me get on! (He slaps ROBERT on the back) But don t you 
think it s a big chance, Rob? 

ROBERT. It s fine for you, Andy. 

ANDREW. We call this a farm but you ought to hear about 
the farms down there ten square miles where we ve got an 
acre. It s a new country where big things arc opening u\j 
and I want to get in on something big before I die. I m 
no fool when it comes to farming, and I know something about 
grain. I ve been reading up a lot on it, too, lately. (He 
notices ROBERT S absent-minded expression and laughs) Wake 
up, you old poetry book worm, you! I know my talking about 
business makes you want to choke me, doesn t it? 

ROBERT, (with an embarrassed smile) No, Andy, I I just 
happened to think of something else. (Frowning) There ve 
been lots of times lately that I ve wished I had some of your 
faculty for business. 

ANDREW, (soberly) There s something I want to talk about, 
Rob, the farm. You don t mind, do you? 


ANDREW. I walked over it this morning with Ruth and 


she told me about things (Evasively) I could see the 

place had run down; but you mustn t blame yourself. When 
luck s against anyone 

ROBERT. Don t, Andy ! It is my fault. You know it as 
well as I do. The best I ve ever done was to make ends 

ANDREW, (after a pause) I ve got over a thousand saved, 
and you can have that. 

ROBERT, (firmly) No. You need that for your start in 
Buenos Aires. 

ANDREW. I don t. I can 

ROBERT, (determinedly) No, Andy! Once and for all, no! 
I won t hear of it! 

ANDREW, (protestingly) You obstinate old son of a gun ! 

ROBERT. Oh, everything ll be on a sound footing after harvest. 
Don t worry about it. 

ANDREW, (doubtfully) Maybe. (After a pause) It s too 
bad Pa couldn t have lived to see things through. (With feel 
ing) It cut me up a lot hearing he was dead. He never 
softened up, did he about me, I mean? 

ROBERT. He never understood, that s a kinder way of put 
ting it. He does now. 

ANDREW, (after a pause) You ve forgotten all about what 
caused me to go, haven t you, Rob? (ROBERT nods but keeps 
his face averted) I was a slushier damn fool in those days 
than you were. But it was an act of Providence I did go- 
It opened my eyes to how I d been fooling myself. Why ; 
I d forgotten all about that before I d been at sea six 


ROBERT, (turns and looks into ANDREW S eyes searchingly) 
You re speaking of Ruth? 

ANDREW, (confused) Yes. I didn t want you to get false 
notions in your head, or I wouldn t say anything. (Looking 
ROBERT squarely in the eyes) I m telling you the truth when 
I say I d forgotten long ago. It don t sound well for me, 
getting over things so easy, but I guess it never really amounted 
to more than a kid idea I was letting rule me. I m certain now 
I never was in love I was getting fun out of thinking I was 
and being a hero to myself. (He heaves a great sigh of 
relief) There! Gosh, I m glad that s off my chest. I ve 
been feeling sort of awkward ever since I ve been home, think 
ing of what you two might think. (A trace of appeal in his 
voice) You ve got it all straight now, haven t you, Rob? 

ROBERT, (in a low voice) Yes, Andy. 

ANDREW. And I ll tell Ruth, too, if I can get up the nerve. 
She must feel kind of funny having me round after what used 
to be and not knowing how I feel about it. 

ROBERT, (slowly) Perhaps for her sake you d better 
not tell her. 

ANDREW. For her sake? Oh, you mean she wouldn t want 
to be reminded of my foolishness? Still, I think it d be worse 

ROBERT, (breaking out in an agonized voice) Do as you 
please, Andy; but for God s sake, let s not talk about it! (There 
is a pause. ANDREW stares at ROBERT in hurt stupefaction. 
ROBERT continues after a moment in a voice which he vainly 
attempts to keep calm) Excuse me, Andy. This rotten head 
ache has my nerves shot to pieces. 


ANDREW, (mumbling) It s all right, Rob long as you re 
not sore at me. 

ROBERT. Where did Uncle Dick disappear to this morning? 

ANDREW. He went down to the port to see to things on the 
Sunda. He said he didn t know exactly when he d be back. 
I ll have to go down and tend to the ship when he comes. That s 
why I dressed up in these togs. 

MARY, (pointing down the hill to the left) See ! Mama ! 
Mama ! (She struggles to her feet. RUTH appears at left. She 
is dressed in white, shows she has been fixing up. She look* 
pretty, flushed and full of life). 

MARY, (running to her mother) Mama ! 

RUTH, (kissing her) Hello, dear! (She walks toward the 
rock and addresses ROBERT coldly) Jake wants to see you about 
something. He finished working where he was. He s waiting 
for you at the road. 

ROBERT, (getting up wearily) I ll go down right away. 
(As he looks at RUTH, noting her changed appearance, his face 
darkens with pain). 

RUTH. And take Mary with you, please. (To MARY) Go 
with Dada, that s a good girl. Grandma has your dinner most 
ready for you. 

ROBERT, (shortly) Come, Mary! 

MARY, (taking his hand and dancing happily beside him) 
Dada! Dada! (They go down the hill to the left. RUTH 
looks after them for a moment, frowning then turns to ANDY 
with a smile) I m going to sit down. Come on, Andy. It ll 
be like old times. (She jumps lightly to the top of the rock 
<ind sits down) It s so fine and cool up here after the house. 


ANDREW, (half-sitting on the side of the boulder) Yes. 
It s great. 

RUTH. I ve taken a holiday in honor of your arrival. (Laugh 
ing excitedly) I feel so free I d like to have wings and fly 
over the sea. You re a man. You can t know how awful and 
stupid it is cooking and washing dishes all the time. 

ANDREW, (making a wry face) I can guess. 

RUTH. Besides, your mother just insisted on getting your 
first dinner to home, she s that happy at having you back. 
You d think I was planning to poison you the flurried way she 
shooed me out of the kitchen. 

ANDREW. That s just like Ma, bless her! 

RUTH. She s missed you terrible. We all have. And you 
can t deny the farm has, after what I showed you and told you 
when we was looking over the place this morning. 

ANDREW, (with a frown) Things are run down, that s a 
fact ! It s too darn hard on poor old Rob. 

RUTH, (scornfully) It s his own fault. He never takes 
any interest in things. 

ANDREW, (reprovingly) You can t blame him. He wasn t 
born for it; but I know he s done his best for your sake and 
the old folks and the little girl. 

RUTH, (indifferently) Yes, I suppose he has. (Gayly) But 
thank the Lord, all those days are over now. The "hard luck" 
Rob s always blaming won t last long when you take hold, 
Andy. All the farm s ever needed was someone with the 
knack of looking ahead and preparing for what s going to 

ANDREW. Yes, Rob hasn t got that. He s frank to own up 
to that himself. I m going to try and hire a good man for 


him an experienced farmer to work the place on a salary 
and percentage. That ll take it off of Rob s hands, and he 
needn t be worrying himself to death any more. He looks all 
worn out, Ruth. He ought to be careful. 

RUTH, {absent-mindedly) Yes, I s pose. (Her mind is 
filed with premonitions by the first part of his statement) 
Why do you want to hire a man to oversee things? Seems as if 
now that you re back it wouldn t be needful. 

ANDREW. Oh, of course I ll attend to everything while I m 
here. I mean after I m gone. 

RUTH, (as if she couldn t believe her ears) Gone ! 

ANDREW. Yes. When I leave for the Argentine again. 

RUTH, (aghast) You re going away to sea ! 

ANDREW. Not to sea, no; I m through with the sea for good 
as a job. I m going down to Buenos Aires to get in the grain 

RUTH. But that s far off isn t it? 

ANDREW, (easily) Six thousand miles more or less. It s 
quite a trip. (With enthusiasm) I ve got a peach of a chance 
down there, Ruth. Ask Rob if I haven t. I ve just been telling 
him all about it. 

RUTH, (a flush of anger coming over her face) And didn t 
he try to stop you from going? 

ANDREW, (in surprise) No, of course not. Why? 

RUTH, (slowly and vindictively) That s just like him 
not to. 

ANDREW, (resentfully) Rob s too good a chum to try and 
stop me when he knows I m set on a thing. And he could 
see just as soon s I told him what a good chance it was. 

RUTH, (dazedly) And you re bound on going? 


ANDREW. Sure thing. Oh, I don t mean right off. I ll have 
to wait for a ship sailing there for quite a while, likely. Any 
way, I want to stay to home and visit with you folks a spell 
before I go. 

RUTH, (dumbly) I s pose. (With sudden anguish) Oh, 
Andy, you can t go ! You can t. Why we ve all thought 
we ve all been hoping and praying you was coming home to 
stay, to settle down on the farm and see to things. You 
mustn t go ! Think of how your Ma ll take on if you go 
and how the farm ll be ruined if you leave it to Rob to look 
after. You can see that. 

ANDREW, (frowning) Rob hasn t done so bad. When I 
get a man to direct things the farm ll be safe enough. 

RUTH, (insistently) But your Ma think of her. 

ANDREW. She s used to me being away. She won t object 
when she knows it s best for her and all of us for me to go. 
You ask Rob. In a couple of years down there I ll make my 
pile, see if I don t; and then I ll come back and settle down 
and turn this farm into the crackiest place in the whole state. 
In the meantime, I can help you both from down there. 
(Earnestly) I tell you, Ruth, I m going to make good right 
from the minute I land, if working hard and a determination 
to get on can do it ; and I know they can ! (Excitedly in a 
rather boastful tone) I tell you, I feel ripe for bigger things 
than settling down here. The trip did that for me, anyway. 
It showed me the world is a larger proposition than ever I 
thought it was in the old days. I couldn t be content any more 
stuck here like a fly in molasses. It all seems trifling, some 
how. You ought to be able to understand what I feel. 

RUTH, (dully) Yes I s pose I ought. (After a pause a 


sudden suspicion forming in her mind) What did Rob tell you 
-about me? 

ANDREW. Tell? About you? Why, nothing. 

RUTH, (staring at him intensely) Are you telling me the 
truth, Andy Mayo? Didn t he say I (She stops con 

ANDREW, (surprised) No, he didn t mention you, I can 
remember. Why? What made you think he did? 

RUTH, (wringing her hands) Oh, I wish I could tell if 
you re lying or not ! 

ANDREW, (indignantly) What re you talking about? I 
didn t used to lie to you, did I? And what in the name of 
God is there to lie for? 

RUTH, (still unconvinced) Are you sure will you swear 

it isn t the reason (She lowers her eyes and half turns 

away from him) The same reason that made you go last time 
that s driving you away again? Cause if it is I was going to 
say you mustn t go on that account. (Her voice sinks to a 
tremulous, tender whisper as she finishes). 

ANDREW, (confused forces a laugh) Oh, is that what 
you re driving at? Well, you needn t worry about that no 
more (Soberly) I don t blame you, Ruth, feeling em 
barrassed having me around again, after the way I played 
the dumb fool about going away last time. 

RUTH, (her hope crushed with a gasp of pain) Oh, Andy ! 

ANDREW, (misunderstanding) I know I oughtn t to talk 
about such foolishness to you. Still I figure it s better to get 
it out of my system so s we three can be together same s years 
ago, and not be worried thinking one of us might have the 
wrong notion 


RUTH. Andy! Please! Don t! 

ANDREW. Let me finish now that I ve started. It ll help 
clear things up. I don t want you to think once a fool always 
a fool, and be upset all the time I m here on my fool account. 
I want you to believe I put all that silly nonsense back of me 
a long time ago and now it seems well as if you d always 
been my sister, that s what, Ruth. 

RUTH, (at the end of her endurance laughing hysterically) 
For God s sake, Andy won t you please stop talking! (She 
again hides her face in her hands, her bowed shoulders trem 

ANDREW, (ruefully) Seem s if I put my foot in it whenever 
I open my mouth today. Rob shut me up with almost the same 
words when I tried speaking to him about it. 

RUTH, (fiercely) You told him what you ve told me? 

ANDREW, (astounded) Why sure ! Why not ? 

RUTH, (shuddering) Oh, my God ! 

ANDREW, (alarmed) Why? Shouldn t I have? 

RUTH, (hysterically) Oh, I don t care what you do ! I 
don t care ! Leave me alone ! (ANDREW gets up and walks 
down the hill to the left, embarrassed, hurt, and greatly puzzled 
by her behavior). 

ANDREW, (after a pause pointing down the hill) Hello! 
Here they come back and the Captain s with them. How d 
he come to get back so soon, I wonder? That means I ve got 
to hustle down to the port and get on board. Rob s got the 
baby with him. (He comes back to the boulder. RUTH keeps 
her face averted from him) Gosh, I never saw a father so 
tied up in a kid as Rob is! He just watches every move she 
makes. And I don t blame him. You both got a right to feel 


proud of her. She s surely a little winner. {He glances at 
RUTH to see if this very obvious attempt to get back in her good 
graces is having any effect} I can see the likeness to Rob 
standing out all over her, can t you? But there s no denying 
she s your young one, either. There s something about her 

RUTH, (piteously} Oh, Andy, I ve a headache! I don t 
want to talk! Leave me alone, won t you please? 

ANDREW, (stands staring at her for a moment then walks 
away saying in a hurt tone} : Everybody hereabouts seems to 
be on edge today. I begin to feel as if I m not wanted around. 
(He stands near the path, left, kicking at the grass with the toe 
of his shoe. A moment later CAPTAIN DICK SCOTT enters, fol 
lowed by ROBERT carrying MARY. The CAPTAIN seems scarcely 
to have changed at all from the jovial, booming person he was 
three years before. He wears a uniform similar to ANDREW S. 
He is puffing and breathless from his climb and mops wildly at 
his perspiring countenance. ROBERT casts a quick glance at 
ANDREW, noticing the latter s discomfited look, and then turns 
his eyes on RUTH who, at their approach, has moved so her back 
is toward them, her chin resting on her hands as she stares out 
seaward} . 

MARY. Mama ! Mama ! (ROBERT puts her down and she 
runs to her mother. RUTH turns and grabs her up in her arms 
with a sudden fierce tenderness, quickly turning away again 
from the others. During the following scene she keeps MARY 
in her arms}. 

SCOTT, (wheezily} Phew ! I got great news for you, Andy. 
Let me get my wind first. Phew ! God A mighty, mountin 
this damned hill is worser n goin aloft to the skys l yard in a 


blow. I got to lay to a while. (He sits down on the grass, 
mopping his face). 

ANDREW. I didn t look for you this soon, Uncle. 

SCOTT. I didn t figger it, neither; but I run across a bit o 
news down to the Seamen s Home made me bout ship and set 
all sail back here to find you. 

ANDREW, (eagerly) What is it, Uncle? 

SCOTT. Passin by the Home I thought I d drop in an let 
em know I d be lackin a mate next trip count o your leavin . 
Their man in charge o the shippin asked after you special 
curious. "Do you think he d consider a berth as Second on a 
steamer, Captain?" he asks. I was goin to say no when I 
thinks o you wantin to get back down south to the Plate 
agen; so I asks him: "What is she and where s she bound?" 
"She s the El Paso, a brand new tramp," he says, "and she s 
bound for Buenos Aires." 

ANDREW, (his eyes lighting up excitedly) Gosh, that is 
luck! When does she sail? 

SCOTT. Tomorrow mornin . I didn t know if you d want to 
ship away agen so quick an I told him so. "Tell him I ll hold 
the berth open for him until late this afternoon," he says. So 
there you be, an you can make your own choice. 

ANDREW. I d like to take it. There may not be another ship 
for Buenos Aires with a vacancy in months. (His eyes roving 
from ROBERT to RUTH and back again uncertainly) Still 
damn it all tomorrow morning is soon. I wish she wasn t 
leaving for a week or so. That d give me a chance it seems 
hard to go right away again when I ve just got home. And 

yet it s a chance in a thousand (Appealing to ROBERT) 

What do you think, Rob? What would you do? 


ROBERT, (forcing a smile) He who hesitates, you know. 
(Frowning ) It s a piece of good luck thrown in your way 
and I think you owe it to yourself to jump at it. But don t 
ask me to decide for you. 

RUTH, (turning to look at ANDREW in a tone of fierce re 
sentment) Yes, go, Andy! (She turns quickly away again. 
There is a moment of embarrassed silence). 

ANDREW, (thoughtfully) Yes, I guess I will. It ll be the 
best thing for all of us in the end, don t you think so, Rob? 
(ROBERT nods but remains silent). 

SCOTT, (getting to his feet) Then, that s settled. 

ANDREW, (now that he has definitely made a decision his 
voice rings with hopeful strength and energy) Yes, I ll take 
the berth. The sooner I go the sooner I ll be back, that s a 
certainty; and I won t come back with empty hands next time. 
You bet I won t ! 

SCOTT. You ain t got so much time, Andy. To make sure 
you d best leave here soon s you kin. I got to get right back 
aboard. You d best come with me. 

ANDREW. I ll go to the house and repack my bag right away. 

ROBERT, (quietly) You ll both be here for dinner, won t 

ANDREW, (worriedly) I don t know. Will there be time? 
What time is it now, I wonder? 

ROBERT, (reproachfully) Ma s been getting dinner espe 
cially for you, Andy. 

ANDREW, (flushing shamefacedly) Hell ! And I was for 
getting ! Of course I ll stay for dinner if I missed every damned 
ship in the world. (He turns to the CAPTAIN briskly) Come 
on, Uncle. Walk down with me to the house and you can tell 


me more about this berth on the way. I ve got to pack before 
dinner. (He and the CAPTAIN start down to the left. ANDREW 
calls back over his shoulder) You re coming soon, aren t you, 

ROBERT. Yes. I ll be right down. (ANDREW and the CAP 
TAIN leave. RUTH puts MARY on the ground and hides her face 
in her hands. Her shoulders shake as if she were sobbing. 
ROBERT stares at her with a grim, somber expression. MARY 
walks backward toward ROBERT, her wondering eyes fixed on her 

MARY, (her voice vaguely frightened , taking her father s 
hand) Dada, Mama s cryin , Dada. 

ROBERT, (bending down and stroking her hair in a voice 
he endeavors to keep from being harsh) No, she isn t, little 
girl. The sun hurts her eyes, that s all. Aren t you beginning 
to feel hungry, Mary? 

MARY, (decidedly) Yes, Dada. 

ROBERT, (meaningly) It must be your dinner time now. 

RUTH, (in a muffled voice) I m coming, Mary. (She wipes 
her eyes quickly and, without looking at ROBERT, comes and 
takes MARY S hand in a dead voice) Come on and I ll get your 
dinner for you. (She walks out left, her eyes fixed on the 
ground, the skipping MARY tugging at her hand. ROBERT waits 
a moment for them to get ahead and then slowly follows as 

(The Curtain Falls) 




Same as Act Two, Scene One The sitting room of the farm 
house about six o clock in the morning of a day toward the end 
of October -five years later. It is not yet dawn, but as the 
action progresses the darkness outside the windows gradually 
fades to gray. 

The room, seen by the light of the shadeless oil lamp with a 
smoky chimney which stands on the table, presents an appear 
ance of decay, of dissolution. The curtains at the windows are 
torn and dirty and one of them is missing. The closed desk is 
gray with accumulated dust as if it had not been used in years. 
Blotches of dampness disfigure the wall paper. Threadbare 
trails, leading to the kitchen and outer doors, show in the faded 
carpet. The top of the coverless table is stained with the im 
prints of hot dishes and spilt food. The rung of one rocker has 
been clumsily mended with a piece of plain board. A brown 
coating of rust covers the unblocked stove. A pile of wood is 
stacked up carelessly against the wall by the stove. 

The whole atmosphere of the room, contrasted with that of 
former years, is one of an habitual poverty too hopelessly re 
signed to be any longer ashamed or even conscious of itself. 

At the rise of the curtain RUTH is discovered sitting by the 
stove, with hands outstretched to the warmth as if the air in the 
room were damp and cold. A heavy shawl is wrapped about 

her shoulders, half-concealing her dress of deep mourning. She 



has aged horribly. Her pale, deeply lined face has the stony 
lack of expression of one to whom nothing more can ever happen, 
whose capacity for emotion has been exhausted. When she 
speaks her voice is without timbre, low and monotonous. The 
negligent disorder of her dress, the slovenly arrangement of 
her hair, now streaked with gray, her muddied shoes run down 
at the heel, give full evidence of the apathy in which she lives. 

Her mother is asleep in her wheel chair beside the stove to 
ward the rear, wrapped up in a blanket. 

There is a sound from the open bedroom door in the rear as 
if someone were getting out of bed. RUTH turns in that direction 
with a look of dull annoyance. A moment later ROBERT appears 
in the doorway, leaning weakly against it for support. His hair 
is long and unkempt, his face and body emaciated. There are 
bright patches of crimson over his cheek bones and his eyes are 
burning with fever. He is dressed in corduroy pants, a flannel 
shirt, and wears worn carpet slippers on his bare feet. 

RUTH, (dully) S-s-s-h- ! Ma s asleep. 

ROBERT, (speaking with an effort) I won t wake her. (He 
walks weakly to a rocker by the side of the table and sinks down 
in it exhausted). 

RUTH, (staring at the stove) You better come near the fire 
where it s warm. 

ROBERT. No. I m burning up now. 

RUTH. That s the fever. You know the doctor told you not 
to get up and move round. 

ROBERT, (irritably) That old fossil ! He doesn t know any 
thing. Go to bed and stay there that s his only prescription. 

RUTH, (indifferently) How are you feeling now? 


ROBERT, (buoyantly) Better! Much better than I ve felt 
in ages. Really I m fine now only very weak. It s the turn 
ing point, I guess. From now on I ll pick up so quick I ll 
surprise you and no thanks to that old fool of a country quack, 

RUTH. He s always tended to us. 

ROBERT. Always helped us to die, you mean! He "tended" 
to Pa and Ma and (hi* voice breaks) and to Mary. 

RUTH, (dully) He did the best he knew, I s pose. (After 
a pause) Well, Andy s bringing a specialist with him when he 
comes. That ought to suit you. 

ROBERT, (bitterly) Is that why you re waiting up all night? 

RUTH. Yes. 

ROBERT. For Andy? 

RUTH, (without a trace of feeling) Somebody had got to. 
It s only right for someone to meet him after he s been gone 
five years. 

ROBERT, (with bitter mockery) Five years! It s a long 

RUTH. Yes. 

ROBERT, (meaningly) To wait! 

RUTH, (indifferently) It s past now. 

ROBERT. Yes, it s past. (After a pause) Have you got his 
two telegrams with you? (RUTH nods) Let me see them, will 
you? My head was so full of fever when they came I couldn t 
make head or tail to them. (Hastily) But I m feeling fine 
now. Let me read them again. (RUTH takes them from the 
bosom of her dress and hands them to him). 

RUTH. Here. The first one s on top. 

ROBERT, (opening it) New York. "Just landed from 


steamer. Have important business to wind up here. Will be 
home as soon as deal is completed." (He smiles bitterly) Busi 
ness first was always Andy s motto (He reads) "Hope you 
are all well. Andy." (He repeats ironically) "Hope you are 
all well!" 

RUTH, (dully) He couldn t know you d been took sick till 
I answered that and told him. 

ROBERT, (contritely) Of course he couldn t. I m a fool. 
I m touchy about nothing lately. Just what did you say in 
your reply? 

RUTH, (inconsequentially) I had to send it collect. 

ROBERT, (irritably) What did you say was the matter with 

RUTH. I wrote you had lung trouble. 

ROBERT, (flying into a petty temper) You are a fool ! How 
often have I explained to you that it s pleurisy is the matter 
with me. You can t seem to get it in your head that the pleura 
is outside the lungs, not in them! 

RUTH, (callously) I only wrote what Doctor Smith told me. 

ROBERT, (angrily) He s a damned ignoramus ! 

RUTH, (dully) Makes no difference. I had to tell Andy 
something, didn t I? 

ROBERT, (after a pause f opening the other telegram) He 
sent this last evening. Let s see. (He reads) "Leave for 
home on midnight train. Just received your wire. Am bringing 
specialist to see Rob. Will motor to farm from Port." (He 
calculates) What time is it now? 

RUTH. Round six, must be. 

ROBERT. He ought to be here soon. I m glad he s bringing 


a doctor who knows something. A specialist will tell you in a 
second that there s nothing the matter with my lungs. 

RUTH, (stolidly) You ve been coughing an awful lot lately. 

ROBERT, (irritably) What nonsense ! For God s sake, 
haven t you ever had a bad cold yourself? (RUTH stares at the 
stove in silence. ROBERT fidgets in his chair. There is a pause. 
Finally ROBERT S eyes are fixed on the sleeping MRS. ATKINS) 
Your mother is lucky to be able to sleep so soundly. 

RUTH. Ma s tired. She s been sitting up with me most of the 

ROBERT, (mockingly) Is she waiting for Andy, too? (There 
is a pause. ROBERT sighs) I couldn t get to sleep to save my 
soul. I counted ten million sheep if I counted one. No use ! 
I gave up trying finally and just laid there in the dark think 
ing. (He pauses, then continues in a tone of tender sympathy) 
I was thinking about you, Ruth of how hard these last years 
must have been for you. (Appealingly) I m sorry, Ruth. 

RUTH, (in a dead voice) I don t know. They re past now. 
They were hard on all of us. 

ROBERT. Yes; on all of us but Andy. (With a flash of sick 
jealousy) Andy s made a big success of himself the kind he 
wanted. (Mockingly) And now he s coming home to let us 
admire his greatness. (Frowning irritably) What am I talk 
ing about? My brain must be sick, too. (After a pause) Yes, 
these years have been terrible for both of us. (His voice is 
lowered to a trembling whisper) Especially the last eight 
months since Mary died. (He forces back a sob with a con 
vulsive shudder then breaks out in a passionate agony) Our 
last hope of happiness! I could curse God from the bottom 
of my soul if there was a God! (He is racked by a violent 


jit of coughing and hurriedly puts his handkerchief to his lips). 

RUTH, (without looking at him) Mary s better off being 

ROBERT, (gloomily) We d all be better off for that matter. 
(With a sudden exasperation) You tell that mother of yours 
she s got to stop saying that Mary s death was due to a weak con 
stitution inherited from me. (On the verge of tears of weakness) 
It s got to stop,, I tell you! 

RUTH, (sharply) S-h-h ! You ll wake her; and then she ll 
nag at me not you. 

ROBERT, (coughs and lies back in his chair weakly a pause) 
It s all because your mother s down on me for not begging 
Andy for help. 

RUTH, (resentfully) You might have. He s got plenty. 

ROBERT. How can you of all people think of taking money 
from him? 

RUTH, (dully) I don t see the harm. He s your own 

ROBERT, (shrugging his shoulders) What s the use of talk 
ing to you? Well, I couldn t. (Proudly) And I ve managed 
to keep things going, thank God. You can t deny that without 

help I ve succeeded in (He breaks off with a bitter laugh) 

My God, what am I boasting of? Debts to this one and that, 
taxes, interest unpaid ! I m a fool ! (He lies back in his chair 
closing his eyes for a moment, then speaks in a low voice) 
I ll be frank, Ruth. I ve been an utter failure, and I ve 
dragged you with me. I couldn t blame you in all justice for 
hating me. 

RUTH, (without feeling) I don t hate you. It s been my 
fault too, I s pose. 


ROBERT. No. You couldn t help loving Andy. 

RUTH, (dully) I don t love anyone. 

ROBERT, (waving her remark aside) You needn t deny it. 
It doesn t matter. (After a pause with a tender smile) Do 
you know Ruth, what I ve been dreaming back there in the 
dark? (With a short laugh) I was planning our future when 
I get well. (He looks at her with appealing eyes as if afraid 
she will sneer at him. Her expression does not change. She 
stares at the stove. His voice takes on a note of eagerness) 
After all, why shouldn t we have a future? We re young yet. 
If we can only shake off the curse of this farm!_ It s the farm 
that s ruined our lives, damn it! And now that Andy s coming 
b ac k I m going to sink my foolish pride, Ruth! I ll borrow 
the money from him to give us a good start in the city. We ll 
go where people live instead of stagnating, and start all over 
again. (Confidently} I won t be the failure there that I ve 
been here, Ruth. You won t need to be ashamed of me there. 
I ll prove to you the reading I ve done can be put to some use. 

(Vaguely) I ll write, or something of that sort. Tve always 

wanted to write. (Pleadingly) You ll want to do that, won t 
you, Ruth? 

RUTH, (dully) There s Ma. 

ROBERT. She can come with us. 

RUTH. She wouldn t. 

ROBERT, (angrily) So that s your answer! (He trembles 
with violent passion. His voice is so strange that RUTH turns 
to look at him in alarm) You re lying, Ruth! Your mother s 
just an excuse. You want to stay here. You think that because 
Andy s coming back that - (He chokes and has an attack of 


RUTH, (getting up in a frightened voice) What s the mat 
ter? (She goes to him) I ll go with you, Rob. Stop that 
coughing for goodness sake ! It s awful bad for you. (She 
soothes him in dull tones) I ll go with you to the city soon s 
you re well again. Honest I will, Rob, I promise ! (ROB lies 
back and closes his eyes. She stands looking down at him 
anxiously) Do you feel better now? 

ROBERT. Yes. (RUTH goes back to her chair. After a pause 
he opens his eyes and sits up in his chair. His face is flushed 
and happy) Then you will go, Ruth? 

RUTH. Yes. 

ROBERT, (excitedly) We ll make a new start, Ruth just 
you and I. Life owes us some happiness after what we ve been 
through. (Vehemently) It must! Otherwise our suffering 
would be meaningless and that is unthinkable. 

RUTH, (worried by his excitement) Yes, yes, of course, 
Rob, but you mustn t 

ROBERT. Oh, don t be afraid. I feel completely well, really 
I do now that I can hope again. Oh if you knew how glorious 
it feels to have something to look forward to! Can t you feel 
the thrill of it, too the vision of a new life opening up after 
all the horrible years? 

RUTH. Yes, yes, but do be 

ROBERT. Nonsense! I won t be careful. I m getting back 
all my strength. (He gets lightly to his feet) See! I feel 
light as a feather. (He walks to her chair and bends down to 
kiss her smilingly) One kiss the first in years, isn t it? to 
greet the dawn of a new life together. 

RUTH, (submitting to his kiss worriedly) Sit down, Rob, 
for goodness sake ! 


ROBERT, (with tender obstinacy stroking her hair) I won t 
sit down. You re silly to worry. (He rests one hand on the 
back of her chair) Listen. All our suffering has been a test 
through which we had to pass to prove ourselves worthy of a 
finer realization. (Exultingly) And we did pass through it! 
It hasn t broken us ! And now the dream is to come true ! 
Don t you see? 

RUTH, (looking at him with frightened eyes as if she thought 
he had gone mad) Yes,, Rob, I see; but won t you go back 
to bed now and rest? 

ROBERT. No. I m going to see the sun rise. It s an augury 
of good fortune. (He goes quickly to the window in the rear 
left, and pushing the curtains aside, stands looking out. RUTH 
springs to her feet and comes quickly to the table, left, where 
she remains watching ROBERT in a tense, expectant attitude. As 
he peers out his body seems gradually to sag, to grow limp and 
tired. His voice is mournful as he speaks) No sun yet. It 
isn t time. All I can see is the black rim of the damned hills 
outlined against a creeping grayness. (He turns around; letting 
the curtains fall back, stretching a hand out to the wall to sup 
port himself. His false strength of a moment has evaporated 
leaving his face drawn and hollow-eyed. He makes a pitiful 
attempt to smile) That s not a very happy augury, is it? But 
the sun ll come soon. (He sways weakly), i 

RUTH, (hurrying to his side and supporting him) Please 
go to bed, won t you, Rob? You don t want to be all wore out 
when the specialist comes, do you? 

ROBERT. (quickly) No. That s right. He mustn t think 
I m sicker than I am. And I feel as if I could sleep now 
(Cheerfully) a good, sound, restful sleep. 


RUTH, (helping him to the bedroom door) That s what you 
need most. (They go inside. A moment later she reappears 
calling back) I ll shut this door so s you ll be quiet. (She 
closes the door and goes quickly to her mother and shakes her 
by the shoulder) Ma ! Ma ! Wake up ! 

MRS. ATKINS, (coming out of her sleep with a start) Glory 
be! What s the matter with you? 

RUTH. It was Rob. He s just been talking to me out here. 
I put him back to bed. (Now that she is sure her mother is 
awake her fear passes and she relapses into dull indifference. 
She sits down in her chair and stares at the stove dully) He 
acted funny; and his eyes looked so so wild like. 

MRS. ATKINS, (with asperity) And is that all you woke 
me out of a sound sleep for, and scared me near out of my wits? 

RUTH. I was afraid. He talked so crazy. I couldn t quiet 
him. I didn t want to be alone with him that way. Lord 
knows what he might do. 

MRS. ATKINS, (scornfully) Humph! A help I d be to you 
and me not able to move a step ! Why didn t you run and get 

RUTH, (dully) Jake isn t here. He quit last night. He 
hasn t been paid in three months. 

MRS. ATKINS, (indignantly) I can t blame him. What de 
cent person d want to work on a place like this? (With sudden 
exasperation) Oh, I wish you d never married that man! 

RUTH, (wearily) You oughtn t to talk about him now when 
he s sick in his bed. 

MRS. ATKINS, (working herself into a fit of rage) You know 
very well, Ruth Mayo, if it wasn t for me helpin you on the 
sly out of my savin s, you d both been in the poor house and 


all count of his pigheaded pride in not lettin Andy know the 
state thin s were in. A nice thin for me to have to support 
him out of what I d saved for my last days and me an invalid 
with no one to look to! 

RUTH. Andy 11 pay you back, Ma. I can tell him so s Rob ll 
never know. 

MRS. ATKINS, (with a snort) What d Rob think you and 
him was livin on, I d like to know? 

RUTH, (dully} He didn t think about it, I s pose. (After 
a slight pause} He said he d made up his mind to ask Andy 
for help when he comes. (As a clock in the kitchen strikes six) 
Six o clock. Andy ought to get here directly. 

MRS. ATKINS. D you think this special doctor 11 do Rob any 

RUTH, (hopelessly) I don t know. (The two women re 
main silent for a time staring dejectedly at the stove). 

MRS. ATKINS, (shivering irritably) For goodness sake put 
some wood on that fire. I m most freezin ! 

RUTH, (pointing to the door in the rear) Don t talk so 
loud. Let him sleep if he can. (She gets wearily from the 
chair and puts a few pieces of wood in the stove) This is the 
last of the wood. I don t know who ll cut more now that Jake s 
left. (She sighs and walks to the window in the rear, left, pulls 
the curtains aside, and looks out} It s getting gray out. (She 
comes back to tke stove) Looks like it d be a nice day. (She 
stretches out her hands to warm them) Must ve been a heavy 
frost last night. We re paying for the spell of warm weather 
we ve been having. (The throbbing whine of a motor sounds 
from the distance outside). 


MRS. ATKINS, (sharply) S-h-h ! Listen ! Ain t that an auto 
I hear? 

RUTH, (without interest) Yes. It s Andy, I s pose. 

MRS. ATKINS, (with nervous irritation) Don t sit there like 
a silly goose. Look at the state of this room! What 11 this 
strange doctor think of us? Look at that lamp chimney all 
smoke! Gracious sakes, Ruth 

RUTH, (indifferently) I ve got a lamp all cleaned up in the 

MRS. ATKINS, (peremptorily) Wheel me in there this min 
ute. I don t want him to see me looking a sight. I ll lay 
down in the room the other side. You don t need me now and 
I m dead for sleep. (RUTH wheels her mother off right. The 
noise of the motor grows louder and finally ceases as the car 
stops on the road before the farmhouse. RUTH returns from the 
kitchen with a lighted lamp in her hand which she sets on the 
table beside the other. The sound of footsteps on the path 
is heard then a sharp rap on the door. RUTH goes and opens 
it. ANDREW enters, followed by DOCTOR FAWCETT carrying a 
small black bag. ANDREW has changed greatly. His face seems 
to have grown highstrung, hardened by the look of decisiveness 
which comes from being constantly under a strain where judg 
ments on the spur of the moment are compelled to be aceurate. 
His eyes are keener and more alert. There is even a suggestion 
of ruthless cunning about them. At present, however, his ex 
pression is one of tense anxiety. DOCTOR FAWCETT is a short, 
dark, middle-aged man with a Vandyke beard. He wears 

RUTH. Hello, Andy! I ve been waiting 

ANDREW, (kissing her hastily) I got here as soon as I could. 


(He throws off his cap and heavy overcoat on the table, intro 
ducing RUTH and the DOCTOR as he does so. He is dressed in an 
expensive business suit and appears stouter) My sister-in-law, 
Mrs. Mayo Doctor Fawcett. (They bow to each other silently. 
ANDREW casts a quick glance about the room) Where s Rob? 

RUTH, (pointing) In there. 

ANDREW. I ll take your coat and hat, Doctor. (As he helps 
the DOCTOR with his things) Is he very bad, Ruth? 

RUTH, (dully) He s been getting weaker. 

ANDREW. Damn ! This way, Doctor. Bring the lamp, Ruth. 
(He goes into the bedroom, followed by the DOCTOR and RUTH 
carrying the clean lamp. RUTH reappears almost immediately 
closing the door behind her, and goes slowly to the outside door, 
which she opens, and stands in the doorway looking out. The 
sound of ANDREW S and ROBERT S voices comes from the bedroom. 
A moment later ANDREW re-enters, closing the door softly. He 
comes forward and sinks down in the rocker on the right of 
table, leaning his head on his hand. His face is drawn in a 
shocked expression of great grief. He sighs heavily, staring 
mournfully in front of him. RUTH turns and stands watching him. 
Then she shuts the door and returns to her chair by the stove, 
turning it so she can face him). 

ANDREW, (glancing up quickly in a harsh voice) How long 
has this been going on ? 

RUTH. You mean how long has he been sick? 

ANDREW, (shortly) Of course! What else? 

RUTH. It was last summer he had a bad spell first, but he s 
been ailin ever since Mary died eight months ago. 

ANDREW, (harshly) Why didn t you let me know cable 
me? Do you want him to die, all of you? I m damned if it 


doesn t look that way ! (H is voice breaking) Poor old chap ! 
To be sick in this out-of-the-way hole without anyone to attend 
to him but a country quack ! It s a damned shame ! 

RUTH, (dully) I wanted to send you word once, but he 
only got mad when I told him. He was too proud to ask any 
thing, he said. 

ANDREW. Proud? To ask me? (He jumps to his feet and 
paces nervously back and forth) I can t understand the way 
you ve acted. Didn t you see how sick he was getting? Couldn t 
you realize why, I nearly dropped in my tracks when I saw 
him! He looks (He shudders) terrible! (With fierce scorn) 
I suppose you re so used to the idea of his being delicate that 
you took his sickness as a matter of course. God, if I d only 
known ! 

RUTH, (without emotion) A letter takes so long to get 
where you were and we couldn t afford to telegraph. We 
owed everyone already, and I couldn t ask Ma. She d been 
giving me money out of her savings till she hadn t much left. 
Don t say anything to Rob about it. I never told him. He d 
only be mad at me if he knew. But I had to, because God 
knows how we d have got on if I hadn t. 

ANDREW. You mean to say (His eyes seem to take in 

the poverty-stricken appearance of the room for the first time) 

You sent that telegram to me collect. Was it because 

(RUTH nods silently. ANDREW pounds on the table with his 
fist) Good God! And all this time I ve been why I ve had 
everything! (He sits down in his chair and pulls it close to 
RUTH S impulsively) But I can t get it through my head. 
Why? Why? What has happened? How did it ever come 
about? Tell me! 


RUTH, (dully) There s nothing much to tell. Things kept 
getting worse, that s all and Rob didn t seem to care. He 
never took any interest since way back when your Ma died. 
After that he got men to take charge, and they nearly all 
cheated him he couldn t tell and left one after another. Then 
after Mary died he didn t pay no heed to anything any more 
just stayed indoors and took to reading books again. So J 
had to ask Ma if she wouldn t help us some. 

ANDREW, (surprised and horrified) Why, damn it, this is 
frightful ! Rob must be mad not to have let me know. Too 
proud to ask help of me! What s the matter with him in God s 
name? (A sudder,, horrible suspicion entering his mind) Ruth! 
Tell me the truth. His mind hasn t gone back on him, has it? 

RUTH, (dully) I don t know. Mary s dying broke him up 
terrible but he s used to her being gone by this, I s pose. 

ANDREW, (looking at her queerly) Do you mean to say 
you re used to it? 

RUTH, (in a dead tone) There s a time comes when you 
don t mind any more anything. 

ANDREW, (looks at her fixedly for a moment with great 
pity) I m sorry, Ruth if I seemed to blame you. I didn t 
realize The sight of Rob lying in bed there, so gone to 
pieces it made me furious at everyone. Forgive me, Ruth. 

RUTH. There s nothing to forgive. It doesn t matter. 

ANDREW, (springing to his feet again and pacing up and 
down) Thank God I came back before it was too late. This 
doctor will know exactly what to do. That s the first thing 
to think of. W T hen Rob s on his feet again we can get the 
farm working on a sound basis once more. I ll see to that 
before I leave. 


RUTH. You re going away again? 

ANDREW. I ve got tO. 

RUTH. You wrote Rob you was coming back to stay this 

ANDREW. I expected to until I got to New York. Then 
C learned certain facts that make it necessary. (With a short 
laugh) To be candid, Ruth, I m not the rich man you ve prob 
ably been led to believe by my letters not now. I was when 
I wrote them. I made money hand over fist as long as I 
stuck to legitimate trading; but I wasn t content with that. 
I wanted it to come easier, so like all the rest of the idiots, I 
tried speculation. Oh, I won all right ! Several times I ve 
been almost a millionaire on paper and then come down to 
earth again with a bump. Finally the strain was too much. I 
got disgusted with myself and made up my mind to get out 
and come home and forget it and really live again. (He gives 
a harsh laugh) And now comes the funny part. The day 
before the steamer sailed I saw what I thought was a chance 
to become a millionaire again. (He snaps his fingers) That 
easy! I plunged. Then, before things broke, I left I was 
so confident I couldn t be wrong. But when I landed in New 
York I wired you I had business to wind up, didn t I? Well, 
it was the business that wound me up ! (He smiles grimly , pac 
ing up and down, his hands in his pockets). 

RUTH, (dully) You found you d lost everything? 

ANDREW, (sitting down again) Practically. (He takes a 
cigar from his pocket, bites the end off, and lights it) Oh, I 
don t mean I m dead broke. I ve saved ten thousand from the 
wreckage, maybe twenty. But that s a poor showing for five 
years hard work. That s why I ll have to go back. (Confi- 


dently) I can make it up in a year or so down there and I 
don t need but a shoestring to start with. (A weary expression 
comes over his face and he sighs heavily) I wish I didn t have 
to. I m sick of it all. 

RUTH. It s too bad things seem to go wrong so. 

ANDREW, (shaking off his depression briskly) They might 
be much worse. There s enough left to fix the farm O. K. 
before I go. I won t leave til Rob s on his feet again. In 
the meantime I ll make things fly around here. (With satis 
faction) I need a rest, and the kind of rest I need is hard 
work in the open just like I used to do in the old days. (Stop 
ping abruptly and lowering his voice cautiously) Not a word 
to Rob about my losing money ! Remember that, Ruth ! You 
can see why. If he s grown so touchy he d never accept a cent 
if he thought I was hard up; see? 

RUTH. Yes, Andy. (After a pause, during which ANDREW 
puffs at his cigar abstractedly , his mind evidently busy with 
plans for the future r the bedroom door is opened and DOCTOR 
FAWCETT enters, carrying a bag. He closes the door quietly 
behind him and comes forward, a grave expression on his face. 
ANDREW springs out of his chair). 

ANDREW. Ah, Doctor ! (He pushes a chair between his own 
and HUTU S) Won t you have a chair? 

FAWCETT. (glancing at his watch) I must catch the nine 
o clock back to the city. It s imperative. I have only a mo 
ment. (Sitting down and clearing his throat in a perfunctory, 

impersonal voice) The case of your brother, Mr. Mayo, is 

(He stops and glances at RUTH and says meaningly to ANDREW) 
Perhaps it would be better if you and I 

RUTH, (with dogged resentment) I know what you mean, 


Doctor. (Dully) Don t be afraid I can t stand it. I m used 
to bearing trouble by this; and I can guess what you ve found 
out. (She hesitates for a moment then continues in a monot 
onous voice) Rob s going to die. 

ANDREW, (angrily) Ruth ! 

FAWCETT. (raising his hand as if to command silence) I 
am afraid my diagnosis of your brother s condition forces me 
to the same conclusion as Mrs. Mayo s. 

ANDREW, (groaning) But, Doctor, surely 

FAWCETT. (calmly) Your brother hasn t long to live 
perhaps a few days, perhaps only a few hours. It s a marvel 
that he s alive at this moment. My examination revealed 
that both of his lungs are terribly affected. 

ANDREW, (brokenly) Good God! (RUTH keeps her eyes 
fixed on her lap in a trance-like stare). 

FAWCETT. I am sorry I have to tell you this. If there was 
anything that could be done 

ANDREW. There isn t anything? 

V "V FAWCETT. (shaking his head) It s too late. Six months 
a S tnere might have 

ANDREW, (in anguish) But if we were to take him to the 

mountains or to Arizona or 

5- FAWCETT. That mighTTiave prolonged his life six months 
ago. (ANDREW groans) But now (He shrugs his shoul 
ders significantly). 

ANDREW, (appalled by a sudden thought) Good heavens, 
you haven t told him this, have you, Doctor? 

FAWCETT. No. I lied to him. I said a change of cli 
mate (He looks at his watch again nervously) I must 

leave you. (He gets up). 


ANDREW, (getting to his feet insistently} But there must 
still be some chance 

FAWCETT. (as if he were reassuring a child) There is al 
ways that last chance the miracle. (He puts on his hat and 
coat bowing to RUTH) Good-by, Mrs. Mayo. 

RUTH, (without raising her eyes dully) Good-by. 

ANDREW, (mechanically) I ll walk to the car with you, 
Doctor. (They go out of the door. RUTH sits motionlessly. 
The motor is heard starting and the noise gradually recedes into 
the distance. ANDREW re-enters and sits down in his chair t 
holding his head in his hands) Ruth! (She lifts her eyes to 
his) Hadn t we better go in and see him? God! I m afraid 
to! I know he ll read it in my face. (The bedroom door is 
noiselessly opened and ROBERT appears in the doorway. His 
cheeks are flushed with fever, and his eyes appear unusually 
large and brilliant. ANDREW continues with a groan) It can t 
be, Ruth. It can t be as hopeless as he said. There s always 
a fighting chance. We ll take Rob to Arizona. He s got to get 
well. There must be a chance! 

ROBERT, (in a gentle tone) Why must there, Andy? (RUTH 
turns and stares at him with terrified eyes). 

ANDREW, (whirling around) Rob ! (Scoldingly) What are 
you doing out of bed? (He gets up and goes to him) Get 
right back now and obey the Doc, or you re going to get a 
licking from me! 

ROBERT, (ignoring these remarks) Help me over to the 
chair, please, Andy. 

ANDREW. Like hell I will ! You re going right back to bed, 
that s where you re going, and stay there! (He takes hold of 
ROBERT S arm). 


ROBERT, (mockingly} Stay there til I die, eh, Andy? 
(Coldly} Don t behave like a child. I m sick of lying down. 
I ll be more rested sitting up. (As ANDREW hesitates vio 
lently} I swear I ll get out of bed every time you put me 
there. You ll have to sit on my chest, and that wouldn t help 
my health any. Come on, Andy. Don t play the fool. I want 
to talk to you, and I m going to. (With a grim smile} A 
dying man has some rights, hasn t he? 

ANDREW, (with a shudder} Don t talk that way, for God s 
sake ! I ll only let you sit down if you ll promise that. Re 
member. (He helps ROBERT to the chair between his own and 
RUTH S) Easy now ! There you are ! Wait, and I ll get a 
pillow for you. (He goes into the bedroom. ROBERT looks 
at RUTH who shrinks away from him in terror. ROBERT smiles 
bitterly. ANDREW comes back with the pillow which he places 
behind ROBERT S back) How s that? 

ROBERT, (with an affectionate smile) Fine! Thank you! 
(As ANDREW sits down} Listen, Andy. You ve asked me not 
to talk and I won t after I ve made my position clear. (Slowly} 
In the first place I know I m dying. (RUTH bows her head 
and covers her face with her hands. She remains like this all 
during the scene between the two brothers}. 

ANDREW. Rob ! That isn t so ! 

ROBERT, (wearily} It is so! Don t lie to me. After 
Ruth put me to bed before you came, I saw it clearly for the 
first time. (Bitterly) I d been making plans for our future 
Ruth s and mine so it came hard at first the realization. 
Then when the doctor examined me, I knew although he tried 
to lie about it. And then to make sure I listened at the door 
to what he told you. So don t mock me with fairy tales about 


Arizona, or any such rot as that. Because I m dying is no 
reason you should treat me as an imbecile or a coward. Now 
that I m sure what s happening I can say Kismet to it with 
all my heart. It was only the silly uncertainty that hurt. 
(There is a pause. ANDREW looks around in impotent anguish, 
not knowing what to say. ROBERT regards him with an af 
fectionate smile}. 

ANDREW, (-finally blurts out) It isn t foolish. You have 
got a chance. If you heard all the Doctor said that ought 
to prove it to you. 

ROBERT. Oh, you mean when he spoke of the miracle? 
(Dryly) I don t believe in miracles in my case. Besides, I 
know more than any doctor on earth could know because I feel 
what s coming. (Dismissing the subject) But we ve agreed 
not to talk of it. Tell me about yourself, Andy. That s what 
I m interested in. Your letters were too brief and far apart to 
be illuminating. 

ANDREW. I meant to write oftener. 

ROBERT, (with a faint trace of irony) I judge from them 
you ve accomplished all you set out to do five years ago? 

ANDREW. That isn t much to boast of. 

ROBERT, (surprised) Have you really, honestly reached that 

ANDREW. Well, it doesn t seem to amount to much now. 

ROBERT. But you re rich, aren t you? 

ANDREW, (with a quick glance at RUTH) Yes, I s pose so. 

ROBERT. I m glad. You can do to the farm all I ve undone. 
But what did you do down there? Tell me. You went in the 
grain business with that friend of yours? 

ANDREW. Yes. After two years I had a share in it. I sold 


out last year. (He is answering ROBERT S questions with great 

ROBERT. And then? 

ANDREW. I went in on my own. 

ROBERT. Still in grain? 


ROBERT. What s the matter? You look as if I were accusing 
you of something. 

ANDREW. I m proud enough of the first four years. It s 
after that I m not boasting of. I took to speculating. 

ROBERT. In wheat? 


ROBERT. And you made money gambling? 


ROBERT, (thoughtfully) I ve been wondering what the great 
change was in you. (After a pause) You a farmer to 
gamble in a wheat pit with scraps of paper. There s a spiritual 
significance in that picture, Andy. (He smiles bitterly) I m 
a failure, and Ruth s another but we can both justly lay 
some of the blame for our stumbling on God. But you re the 
deepest-dyed failure of the three, Andy. You ve spent eight 
years running away from yourself. Do you see what I mean? 
You used to be a creator when you loved the farm. You and 

life were in harmonious partnership. And now (He 

stops as if seeking vainly for words) My brain is muddled. 
But part of what I mean is that your gambling with the thing 

you used to love to create proves how far astray So you ll 

be punished. You ll have to suffer to win back (His voice 

A grows weaker and he sighs wearily) It s no use. I can t say 

Iit. (He lies back and closes his eyeSj breathing pantingly). 
bJfrtsL (uv^#*- 


ANDREW, (slowly) I think I know what you re driving at, 
Rob and it s true, I guess. (ROBERT smiles gratefully and 
stretches out his hand, which ANDREW takes in his). 

ROBERT. I want you to promise me to do one thing, Andy, 

ANDREW. I ll promise anything, as God is my Judge ! 

ROBERT. Remember, Andy, Ruth has suffered double her 
share. (His voice faltering with weakness) Only through 
contact with suffering, Andy, will you awaken. Listen. You 
must marry Ruth afterwards. 

RUTH, (with a cry) Rob ! (ROBERT lies back, his eyes 
closed, gasping heavily for breath). 

ANDREW, (making signs to her to humor him gently) 
You re tired out, Rob. You better lie down and rest a while, 
don t you think? We can talk later on. 

ROBERT, (with a mocking smile) Later on ! You always 
were an optimist, Andy! (He sighs with exhaustion) Yes, I ll 
go and rest a while. (As ANDREW comes to help him) It must 
be near sunrise, isn t it? 

ANDREW. It s after six. 

ROBERT. (As ANDREW helps him into the bedroom) Shut 
the door, Andy. I want to be alone. (ANDREW reappears and 
shuts the door softly. He comes and sits down on his chair 
again, supporting his head on his hands. His face is drawn 
with the intensity of his dry-eyed anguish). 

RUTH, (glancing at him fearfully) He s out of his mind 
now, isn t he? 

ANDREW. He may be a little delirious. The fever would 
do that. {With impotent rage) God, what a shame! And 


there s nothing we can do but sit and wait ! {He springs 
from his chair and walks to the stove). 

RUTH, (dully) He was talking wild like he used to 
only this time it sounded unnatural, don t you think? 

ANDREW. I don t know. The things he said to me had truth 
in them even if he did talk them way up in the air, like he 

always sees things. Still (He glances down at RUTH 

keenly) Why do you suppose he wanted us to promise we d 

(Confusedly) You know what he said. 

RUTH, (dully) His mind was wandering, I s pose. 

ANDREW, (with conviction) No there was something back 
of it. 

RUTH. He wanted to make sure I d be all right after he d 
gone, I expect. 

ANDREW. No, it wasn t that. He knows very well I d nat 
urally look after you without anything like that. 

RUTH. He might be thinking of something happened five 
years back, the time you came home from the trip. 

ANDREW. What happened? What do you mean? 

RUTH, (dully) We had a fight. 

ANDREW. A fight? What has that to do with me? 

RUTH. It was about you in a way. 

ANDREW, (amazed) About me? 

RUTH. Yes, mostly. You see I d found out I d made a mis 
take about Rob soon after we were married when it was too 

ANDREW. Mistake? (Slowly) You mean you found out 
you didn t love Rob? 

RUTH. Yes. 

ANDREW. Good God! 


RUTH. And then I thought that when Mary came it d be 
different, and I d love him; but it didn t happen that way. 
And I couldn t bear with his blundering and book-reading 
and I grew to hate him, almost. 

ANDREW. Ruth ! 

RUTH. I couldn t help it. No woman could. It had to be 
because I loved someone else, I d found out. (She sighs 
wearily) It can t do no harm to tell you now when it s all 
past and gone and dead. You were the one I really loved 
only I didn t come to the knowledge of it til too late. 

ANDREW, (stunned) Ruth ! Do you know what you re say 

RUTH. It was true then. (With sudden fierceness) How 
could I help it? No woman could. 

ANDREW. Then you loved me that time I came home? 

RUTH, (doggedly) I d known your real reason for leaving 
home the first time everybody knew it and for three years 
I d been thinking 

ANDREW. That I loved you? 

RUTH. Yes. Then that day on the hill you laughed about 
what a fool you d been for loving me once and I knew it 
was all over. 

ANDREW. Good God, but I never thought (He stops, 

shuddering at his remembrance) And did Rob 

RUTH. That was what I d started to tell. We d had a 
fight just before you came and I got crazy mad and I told 
him all I ve told you. 

ANDREW, (gaping at her speechlessly for a moment) You 
told Rob you loved me? 

RUTH. Yes. 


ANDREW, (shrinking away from her in horror) You you 
you mad fool, you ! How could you do such a thing ? 

RUTH. I couldn t help it. I d got to the end of bearing 
things without talking. 

ANDREW. Then Rob must have known every moment I 
stayed here ! And yet he never said or showed God, how 
he must have suffered! Didn t you know how much he loved 

RUTH, (dully) Yes. I knew he liked me. 

ANDREW. Liked you! What kind of a woman are you? 
Couldn t you have kept silent? Did you have to torture him? 
No wonder he s dying! And you ve lived together for five 
years with this between you? 

RUTH. We ve lived in the same house. 

ANDREW. Does he still think 

RUTH. I don t know. We ve never spoke a word about it 
since that day. Maybe, from the way he went on, he s poses 
I care for you yet. 

ANDREW. But you don t. It s outrageous. It s stupid! You 
don t love me ! 

RUTH, (slowly) I wouldn t know how to feel love, even if 
I tried, any more. 

ANDREW, (brutally) And I don t love you, that s sure! 
(He sinks into his chair, his head between his hands) It s 
damnable such a thing should be between Rob and me. Why, 
I love Rob bettcr n anybody in the world and always did. 
There isn t a thing on God s green earth I wouldn t have done 
to keep trouble away from him. And I have to be the very 
one it s damnable! How am I going to face him again? 
What can I say to him now? (He groans with anguished 


rage. After a pause) He asked me to promise what am I 
going to do? 

RUTH. You can promise so s it ll ease his mind and not 
mean anything. 

ANDREW. What? Lie to him now when he s dying? (De 
terminedly} No! It s you who ll have to do the lying, since 
it must be done. You ve got a chance now to undo some of 
alljthe sufferfaf YfflTYfi brought on Rob, fio in to him ! Tell 
him you never loved me it was all a mistake. Tell him you 
only said so because you were mad and didn t know what you 
were saying! Tell him something, anything, that ll bring him 
peace ! 

RUTH, (dully} He wouldn t believe me. 

ANDREW, (furiously) You ve got to make him believe you, 
do you hear? You ve got to now hurry you never know 
when it may be too late. (As she hesitates imploringly) 
For God s sake, Ruth! Don t you see you owe it to him? 
You ll never forgive yourself if you don t. 

RUTH, (dully) I ll go. (She gets wearily to her feet and 
walks slowly toward the bedroom) But it won t do any good. 
(ANDREW S eyes are fixed on her anxiously. She opens the door 
and steps inside the room. She remains standing there for a 
minute. Then she calls in a frightened voice) Rob ! Where 
are you? (Then she hurries back, trembling with fright) 
Andy ! Andy ! He s gone ! 

ANDREW, (misunderstanding her his face pale with dread) 
He s not 

RUTH, (interrupting him hysterically) He s gone ! The 
bed s empty. The window s wide open. He must have crawled 
out into the yard ! 


ANDREW, (springing to his feet. He rushes into the bed 
room and returns immediately with an expression of alarmed 
amazement on his face) Come! He can t have gone far! 
(Grabbing his hat he takes RUTH S arm and shoves her toward 
the door) Come on! (Opening the door) Let s hope to 

God (The door closes behind them, cutting off his words 


(The Curtain Falls) 



Same as Act One, Scene One A section of country high 
way. The sky to the east is already alight with bright 
color and a thin, quivering line of flame is spreading slowly 
along the horizon rim of the dark hills. The roadside, how 
ever, is still steeped in the grayness of the dawn, shadowy and 
vague. The field in the foreground has a wild uncultivated 
appearance as if it had been allowed to remain fallow the 
preceding summer. Parts of the snake-fence in the rear have 
been broken down. The apple tree is leafless and seems dead. 

ROBERT staggers weakly in from the left. He stumbles into 
the ditch and lies there for a moment; then crawls with a great 
effort to the top of the bank where he can see the sun rise, and 
collapses weakly. RUTH and ANDREW come hurriedly along the 
road from the left. 

ANDREW, (stopping and looking about him) There he is! 
I knew it ! I knew we d find him here. 

ROBERT, (trying to raise himself to a sitting position as they 
hasten to his side with a wan smile) I thought I d given 
you the slip. 

ANDREW, (with kindly bullying) Well you didn t, you old 
scoundrel, and we re going to take you right back where you 

belong in bed. (He makes a motion to lift ROBERT). 



ROBERT. Don t, Andy. Don t, I tell you! 

ANDREW. You re in pain? 

ROBERT, (simply) No. I m dying. (He falls back weakly. 
RUTH sinks down beside him with a sob and pillows his head 
on her lap. ANDREW stands looking down at him helplessly. 
ROBERT moves his head restlessly on RUTH S lap) I couldn t 
stand it back there in the room. It seemed as if all my life 
I d been cooped in a room. So I thought I d try to end as 

I might have if I d had the courage alone in a ditch by 

the open road watching the sun rise. 

ANDREW. Rob ! Don t talk. You re wasting your strength. 
Rest a while and then we ll carry you 

ROBERT. Still hoping, Andy? Don t. I know. (There is 
a pause during which he breathes heavily, straining his eyes 
toward the horizon) The sun comes so slowly. (With an 
ironical smile) The doctor told me to go to the far-off places 
and I d be cured. He was right. That was always the 

cure for me. It s too late for this life but (He has a 

fit of coughing which racks his body). 

ANDREW, (with a hoarse sob) Rob ! (He clenches his fists 
in an impotent rage against Fate) God ! God ! (RUTH sobs 
brokenly and wipes ROBERT S lips with her handkerchief). 

ROBERT, (in a voice which is suddenly ringing with the 
happiness of hope) You mustn t feel sorry for me. Don t 
you see I m happy at last free free ! freed from the farm 
free to wander on and on eternally ! (He raises himself 
on his elbow, his face radiant, and points to the horizon) Look! 
Isn t it beautiful beyond the hills? I can hear the old voices 

calling me to come (Exultantly) And this time I m go- 

ing! It isn t the end. It s a free beginning the start of my 


voyage ! I ve won to my trip the right of release beyond 
the horizon ! Oh, you ought to be glad glad for my sake ! 
(He collapses weakly} Andy! (ANDREW bends down to him) 
Remember Ruth 

ANDREW. I ll take care of her, I swear to you, Rob ! 

ROBERT. Ruth has suffered remember, Andy only through 

sacrifice the secret beyond there (He suddenly raises 

himself with his last remaining strength and points to the horizon 
where the edge of the sun s disc is rising from the rim of the 
hills) The sun ! (H e remains with his eyes fixed on it for a 
moment. A rattling noise throbs from his throat. He mumbles) 
Remember! (And falls back and is still. RUTH gives a cry 
of horror and springs to her feet, shuddering, her hands over 
her eyes. ANDREW bends on one knee beside the body, placing 
a hand over ROBERT S heart, then he kisses his brother rev 
erentially on the forehead and stands up). 

ANDREW, (facing RUTH, the body between them in a dead 
voice) He s dead. (JVith a sudden burst of fury) God damn 
you, you never told him ! 

RUTH, (piteously) He was so happy without my lying to 

ANDREW, (pointing to the body trembling with the violence 
of his rage) This is your doing, you damn woman, you coward, 
you murderessl_ 

RUTH, (sobbing) Don t, Andy ! I couldn t help it and 
he knew how I d suffered, too. He told you to remember. 

ANDREW, (stares at her for a moment, his rage ebbing away, 
an expression of deep pity gradually coming over his face. 
Then he glances down at his brother and speaks brokenly in a 
compassionate voice) Forgive me. Ruth for his sake and 


I ll remember (RUTH lets her hands fall from her face 

and looks at him uncomprehendingly. He lifts his eyes to hers 
and forces out falteringly) I you we ve both made a mess 
of things ! We must try to help each other and in time 
we ll come to know what s right (Desperately) And per 
haps we (But RUTH, if she is aware of his words, gives 

no sign. She remains silent, gazing at him dully with the sad 
humility of exhaustion, her mind already sinking back into that 
spent calm beyond the further troubling of any hope). 

(The Curtain Falls) 

The Plays by 


in this series are: 





ILE . 35c. 

The Dramatists Play Service issues a booklet, 
describing for non-professionals each of the 
O Neill plays which it leases. This booklet will 
be sent free of charge. Address all inquiries to 





among the 
ity and the 
tre have re- 
ience. His 
ion is eveni 
Iccession of 
lense and 
to all civi- 
"i, follow: 



FEB 81981 






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